HUNTING VALLEY, Ohio — The recently completed Academic & Science Wing at University School in Hunting Valley is one of the latest projects to achieve LEED certification. The three-story, 52,000-square-foot project earned a Silver-level certification from the USGBC and houses classrooms, labs and meeting spaces for five different academic disciplines.
Designed by Centerbrook Architects & Planners of Centerbrook, Conn., the project was part of a larger master-planning project that included the construction of two new facilities built on the institution’s Upper School campus.
“An academic LEED building can be particularly satisfying, infusing the education with the sustainable and teaching outside the classroom with the building itself,” said Centerbrook partner Mark Simon, FAIA, in a statement. “University School has a splendid 100-plus year history of experiential learning. Seeing what something is made of leads to thinking about how and why — eliciting curiosity about almost everything. We eagerly built on that tradition.”
For example, the project’s overall narrow orientation and deep windows maximize daylight without overheating. Meanwhile, the exposed concrete structure and open-grid ceilings store thermal energy to minimize heating and cooling needs. The pond loop geothermal system is an affordable energy-saver that also serves as a teaching tool.
“Sustainability continues to be an important theme for University School,” said Headmaster Richard Bryan in a statement. “We were able to add 50,000 square feet with no increase in energy costs thanks to the creative solutions provided by Centerbrook. The quality of the space is also an important factor in maximizing teaching and learning. Students and teachers express how appreciative they are to have such compelling learning spaces.”
The building’s features tallied 56 points on the LEED scale to earn BD+C (Building Design + Construction) Silver, including 16 out of a possible 19 points for optimizing energy performance, according to a statement by Centerbrook Architects & Planners. The project also earned two-thirds of the points available in the indoor environmental quality and innovation categories.
“With each new LEED-certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “As the newest member of the LEED family of green buildings, University School’s Academic & Science Wing is an important addition to the growing strength of the green building movement.”