Construction Zone: Net-Zero-Energy Additions

New York School District media center renovations will consume net-zero energy.

The Liverpool Central School District, Syracuse, N.Y., and the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Central School District, Parish, N.Y., recently broke ground on capital-improvement projects that include ambitious sustainability features. These include media center additions that are expected to operate as net-zero-energy buildings—on an annual basis they will create as much energy as they consume.

For instance, the Liverpool Central School District middle school media center will "capture, conserve and create" energy in several ways: installing a split Trombe wall daylighting system, which absorbs the sun’s heat and reduces the need for artificial heating; and conserving energy with a draft-tight building skin and well-designed insulation. These steps reduce the building’s energy usage by about 50 to 70 percent. The remaining energy usage is offset by creating energy with on-site photovoltaic arrays.

Daylight- and energy-modeling software predict how each design choice will affect the building’s energy consumption.

Both net-zero-energy media centers are scheduled for completion in 2011, and both districts’ full renovation projects are registered for LEED certification.

The Advanced Building Studio at Ashley McGraw Architects, PC (Syracuse, N.Y.) is architect for the projects.

TAGS: Energy
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