Charter Focus - Fall 2013 - page 10

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Colorado League of Charter Schools
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mplementing passive design
strategies can be a low cost
solution to achieving energy efficient
school design. Passive design involves
responding to natural systems in
our local micro-climate to cool,
illuminate, ventilate and heat our
buildings. Charter schools all across
the US are taking on the challenge
to create unique, innovative and
exceptional school programs that
challenge the mainstream approach
to learning. Charter schools have
a unique opportunity to become
stewards of our planet, and lead the
national effort to reduce our thirst for
energy through our built environment.
According to statistics, the building
sector is responsible for almost 50%
of all energy consumed in the US.
Architecture 2030’s research indicates
that building operations consume
77% of all electricity produced in this
country. Architects all over the world
are taking on the 2030 Challenge to
design energy efficient buildings with
reduced fossil fuel energy consumption
to carbon neutral by 2030.
The key to reducing energy
consumption is to reduce the need
for it in the first place. Incorporating
passive design strategies such as
maximizing daylighting, using natural
ventilation and solar air heating, are
some of the natural strategies that
should be implemented in sustainable
building design. By reducing energy
demand, less complex active HVAC
systems will be needed to reach the
desired level of comfort inside your
building. Relying on Mother Nature
will help reduce your up-front and
long term building costs. The USGBC
reports green schools use on average
use 33 percent less energy than
conventionally constructed schools.
Taking advantage of what nature has
to offer should be one of the primary
points of departure for the entire
design team. It’s critical to outline
your energy goals and understand the
options available to you, their added
benefits, cost implications, and how
these decisions will affect cultural
and behavioral patterns in the daily
use of your facility. Creating an
adaptable building requires changing
conventional building operational
procedures.
Artificially controlled environments
can cause illogical behavior and very
unsustainable habits. HVAC systems
are primarily used to create and
maintain a certain level of comfort
within our buildings. How
NATURE AS A GUIDE FOR
SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL DESIGN
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y
B
u d d y
P
o p p i t t
Designing with nature using passive energy design strategies can significantly reduce the amount of
energy your school needs to create a healthy education environment. These strategies will inform every
aspect of the building design process and will effect site selection, building massing and orientation,
fenestration, building energy demands, and even school culture.
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