William Maclay - Vermont Architects and Planners
Choices in Sustainability
The Willow School Health Wellness & Nutrition Building - Gladstone, NJ

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The Willow School, a private preparatory school in Gladstone, New Jersey, wanted to build a model environmental building for its health, wellness and nutritional programs. The school established high environmental goals for the project, including a LEED Platinum rating by the USGBC, and certification through the Living Building Institute meeting the requirements of the Living Building Challenge. Certification by the Living Building Challenge requires that the building have net-zero energy usage, net-zero water usage, and comply with other highly rigorous environmental requirements. The building will house the school cafeteria / multipurpose space, a teaching kitchen and classroom facilities. 

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We were hired by the owner as a Net-Zero Envelope Architect to work alongside and provide feedback to the Architect of Record, who did the existing classroom building on the Willow School campus. Working directly for the owner we were able to effectively direct the design of the envelope while also providing input on balancing of energy consumption and energy reduction strategies. We provided feedback on kitchen and refrigeration, daylighting, mechanical systems, and structural design. This work required pre-design services to develop metrics for the team to target. Energy Use Intensity (EUI) for the project is projected to be 19.7 kBtu/sf-yr in process loads dominated by the commercial kitchen equipment and ventilation. From Schematic Design through Construction Documentation we held regular coordination meetings with the Architect and owner to review the design and identify decisions and strategies which would guarantee the building would achieve the aggressive EUI. In addition, we coordinated with the architect's major consultants, including the mechanical engineer, the structural engineer, and the energy consultant to bring to light concerns across the disciplines, and maximize efficiency by reducing loads. 

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Construction of the building was completed in the summer of 2015 and is very close to achieving some aggressive targets, including near daylight autonomy, net-zero energy performance (by use of PV's), and compliance with the Living Building Challenge red list.