Zero net energy school building prototype for Los Angeles

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Zero net energy school building prototype for Los Angeles

The Swift Lee Office recently took Silver in the Regional Holcim Awards 2011 North America for their design for a zero net energy school building. This public school building, a prototype for multiple campuses in the Los Angeles area, strives for LEED Platinum classification thanks to its numerous sustainable features.
The two-floor, 30,000-square-foot building will consist of modular panels attached to pre-fabricated steel structure. The panels form a double façade and allow for solar, acoustic and environmental control. Due to its prefabricated nature, the building can be assembled differently to accommodate the specificities of each construction site. The interior is also free of columns, making the arrangement of space even more flexible.
The building’s architects have considered the entire lifecycle in their design. A best practices approach will be applied to minimize the amount of waste during construction, the structure will achieve net zero energy while in operation and can be largely recycled once it is dismantled. 
An array of rooftop photovoltaic panels will generate enough or more than enough energy to fulfil the building’s yearly energy requirements. Rainwater will also be harvested on the roof and used to irrigate the landscaped grounds. Vertical solar shades on the east and west sides of the building control solar gain, while a ventilation chimney ensures the natural circulation of air. Natural light is used extensively, reaching the interior via skylights for the second floor interior and a vertical sun channel for the ground level.
Construction on the first prototype will break ground in January 2012 and is expected to be complete in 2013. The building will be able to accommodate up to 500 students.


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