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HPA Energy Lab achieves LEED Platinum certification

HPA's Energy Lab (Photo courtesy Matthew Millman Photography)

MEDIA RELEASE

The Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy has been awarded Platinum-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Schools 2.0 certification—the highest LEED rating a school building can receive from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Energy Lab is the first building in Hawaii to achieve LEED Platinum certification under the LEED for Schools 2.0 rating system.

“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, chief executive officer, and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council.

“The work of innovative building projects such as the Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement,” Fedrizzi said.

The Energy Lab’s LEED for Schools 2.0 Platinum certification was based on green design and construction criteria that promote a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in key areas, including sustainable site, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, locations and linkages, awareness and education, curriculum integration, innovation in design, and regional priority.

“Because of our distance from the mainland, the odds of satisfying the requisite number of LEED Platinum mandates were truly stacked against us,” said HPA Headmaster Lindsay Barnes. “But we accepted the challenge, we persevered, and we succeeded. What a great lesson in life this is. I am so proud of – and happy for – all who contributed so much to this effort.”

The Energy Lab also is a participant in the Living Building Challenge, a criteria that exceeds LEED Platinum certification. If successful, the Energy Lab will be the first K-12 school facility in the world to meet the Living Building Challenge.

“This project was a team effort and as a member of a global team of innovators, HPA is engaged in promoting global sustainability by example,” said Dr. Bill Wiecking, Energy Lab director, who was intimately involved with the development and design of the Energy Lab. “The lessons we learned will be used in our buildings and in buildings of the future.”

The 6,112-square foot Energy Lab, designed by Flansburgh Architects in Boston and built by Quality Builders, Inc. of Waimea, supports an educational model for the 21st century where students work together in teams to research, design, and develop new and existing renewable energy technologies.

The positive energy building uses only 30 percent of the energy it captures, providing energy for the rest of the school’s 220-acre Upper Campus most of the time. The Energy Lab is completely off the grid for water and waste.

“We’re demonstrating that it’s not only about building design, it’s about operating the building efficiently,” said Wiecking.

Other unique features of the Energy Lab include:

* Energy and operational monitoring and control:
There are 480 sensors in the Energy Lab that measure and control everything from energy and water use to the amount of CO2 in each room. Sensors monitor and control artificial lighting and natural air flow, making the Energy Lab “a living building.” Every sensor provides current readings online so Wiecking and his students can monitor energy use in the building and around campus, the goal of which is to maintain a safe, comfortable space while conserving resources.

* Innovative radiant cooling system
This system uses colder nighttime air to chill water and cools warm spaces during the day. The system also captures waste heat from system computers.

* Recycled materials; minimum construction waste and “Red List” items:
More than 97 percent of all materials brought on site were either used on the site, recycled, or used for the building. All wood is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified or from salvaged sources. All materials meet stringent requirements for toxicity and cradle-to-grave responsibility.

* Roof-mounted photovoltaic panels
A 24-kilowatt array of photovoltaic panels produces 100 percent on-site renewable energy for the lab on a net annual basis.

“To achieve LEED Platinum rating and pursue the more stringent criteria of the Living Building Challenge requires an exceptional amount of teamwork between a committed owner, skilled design team, and resourceful builder with a coach to help maintain focus on schedule and cost parameters,” said Ken Melrose, senior project manager, Paahana Enterprises LLC. “All members of the HPA Energy Lab team went beyond expectations, with the resulting top quality product as proof.”

Since its opening in January, the Energy Lab has been recognized with numerous awards, including American Institute of Architects — Honolulu 2010 Award of Excellence, AIA Honolulu 2010 Jack C. Lipman AIA Members Choice Award, Learning By Design’s 2010 Grand Prize, AIA New England Honor Award, Boston Society of Architects Honor Award, and AIA New Hampshire: 2010 Excellence in Sustainable Design and Development, Merit Award for Integrated Design/Integrated Development.

The LEED for Schools Rating System recognizes the unique nature of the design and construction of K-12 schools. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, LEED for Schools is the recognized benchmark for green schools, with third-party reviews to ensure that schools are healthy for students, comfortable for teachers, and cost-effective.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings. More than 32,000 projects currently are participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems.

– Find out more:
www.hpa.edu

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