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Sustainable School Surpasses its Goals

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Best Green Project

Image Courtesy of Robert Benson Photogrpahy
Image Courtesy of Robert Benson Photogrpahy
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While the idea of a net-zero energy building—one that generates at least as much energy as it consumes—may be laudable, large-scale examples are few and far between. But this Massachusetts school, which combined two campuses into a new single structure, has surpassed its green goals and is the commonwealth's first state-owned net-zero building.

The 58,000-sq-ft school is made of recycled masonry that resembles limestone. It can produce enough energy from the rows of photovoltaic cells on its roof to power dozens of homes. But it also lowers its footprint with an approach that reduces consumption of lighting, which can represent 40% of a building's power bill.

The $32-million project, which took two and a half years to complete, uses many architectural and engineering methods geared toward sustainability, including natural ventilation, building orientation, chilled beams and geothermal energy technologies. Rooms don't get too hot thanks to low-emissive glass in the curtain walls to prevent heat gain. Geothermal wells cool the air, and a flora-covered roof insulates the building and ensures that it doesn't become a heat island.

"I liked the teamwork discussion," says an ENR New York judge, "and that it's on a campus educating students and showing what's possible."

North Shore Community College Health Professions, Student Services Building, Danvers, Mass.

Key Players

Owner/Developer: North Shore Community College, Division of Capital Asset Management, Massachusetts

General Contractor/Construction Manager: Walsh Brothers

Lead Designer: DiMella Shaffer

Landscape Architect: Copley Wolff Design Group

Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering

Structural Engineer: Lim Consultants

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