DRG Lands Phillipsburg Grant
Architects and LEEDTM accredited professionals from Design Resources Group, Architects worked with the Phillipsburg Board of Education and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to secure a $260,000 grant for the installation of a photovoltaic system on their new Early Childhood Center. The Early Childhood Center is scheduled to open in early 2006 and has been designed to maximize energy efficiency using the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEEDTM design techniques.
“The school board wanted to make the building as green as possible from the start, so the BPU’s requirement to meet the LEEDTM Silver criteria was no problem,” said Phil Cacossa, Principal and LEEDTM Liaison for the Phillipsburg ECC project. The LEEDTM program rates new buildings on their level of energy efficiency and resource conservation on a 69 point scale ranging from Basic Certification (26 points) to Platinum Certification (52 points). The BPU grant program requires that the building achieve a LEEDTM Silver Certification (33 points) in order to receive the grant monies. DRG believes the school will be granted 35 points when the final documentation is presented to the USGBC for review.
The grant program was announced to promote the use of photovoltaic arrays or solar panel systems in Abbott district schools. Abbott districts are those school districts that the state has determined meet the criteria for special needs. The grant provides funding for the design, purchase and installation of photovoltaic systems for Abbott district schools provided that the school is designed to meet LEEDTM Silver criteria and the district must incorporate an educational component in their schools that teaches about the photovoltaic system.
In order to reach the LEEDTM Silver Certification there were many energy efficient and sustainable design techniques used in the planning and construction of the building. For example, the school is being built with recycled steel from a local mill and all of the sub-base material is made from rock that was excavated from the site and crushed with a crushing machine that was brought in by the general contractor. All paints, adhesives, carpeting and wall coverings are made from low VOC materials to prevent off-gassing. The air-conditioning system for the building uses 100% fresh air and an energy recovery system that transfers the energy from the exhaust air to the fresh air without transferring the pollutants. The air-conditioning also utilizes a thermal storage system that makes ice at night when energy costs are lower and then uses the ice during the day to cool the building without having to run expensive compressors.
The building’s energy management system will use ambient light from the sun to offset the fluorescent lighting installed throughout the school. Sun shades installed on the classroom windows will allow indirect sunlight to brighten the rooms while blocking unwanted glare. Most importantly, the school will provide a bright and cheerful atmosphere for the children of Phillipsburg and a healthier environment, while reducing the impact of building an 86,000 square foot school on the earth’s environment.