The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground- 2017 Global Awards for Excellence Finalist

Kathleen Grimm

Location: Staten Island, New York, United States
Developer: NY School Construction Authority
Designer: Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill LLP
Site Size: 3.5 Acre

The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground is the first net zero energy school in New York City and one of the first of its kind worldwide. The cutting-edge building achieves its net zero energy target by harvesting as much energy from renewable on-site resources as it uses on an annual basis.

Located on the south shore of Staten Island, the 444-seat, 68,000-square-foot primary school is designed to comply with the SCA Green Schools Guide, a stringent rating system similar to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification process and developed specifically for New York City public schools. As the SCA’s first “sustainability lab,” the Kathleen Grimm School will also help achieve the OneNYC goals for reduction in global warming emissions.

playground_jamesewing_ottoclassroom_jamesewing_otto facade_jamesewing_ottosustainability-section_somSituated on 3.5 acres, the school is oriented to the center of the “L” shaped site in order to optimize natural light for the photo-voltaic panels and the interior learning spaces. Thanks to its aggressive approach to sustainability, the Kathleen Grimm School achieves a remarkable 50% reduction in energy use over a typical new public school in New York.

The school’s many sustainable design features include photo-voltaic panels on the building’s roofs and south facade, precast rain screens on three facades, skylights and reflective ceiling panels that amplify natural light, a geo-exchange heating and cooling system, energy recovery ventilators and demand-control ventilation, and a solar thermal system for hot water. The set back of the windows on the building’s south facades and the vertical relief on the building’s exterior reduce thermal heat gain, and also contribute to this impressive energy statistic. Interactive dashboards displayed throughout the building present real-time data on energy usage and production, allowing for immediate feedback on energy choices and healthy competition between classes and grade levels.

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