Design Challenge

After completing the Field House, The Putney School enlisted Maclay Architects to help look at strategies for reducing energy consumption campus wide and to develop a strategic energy master plan. Students, faculty and staff played an important role in early stages and continually throughout the process. This plan envisions a campus that is more workable, more livable and more sustainable. It is this reinvented campus that will carry The Putney School into the next decade and beyond.


The Putney School Master Plan is a plan for sustainability. It differs from a traditional master plan, which serves as a plan for future campus growth. Sustainability is defined here twofold - one, to create an economically viable model for the campus in order to incrementally improve the existing building stock, and two, to create an environmentally sustainable campus which embodies the school’s character. Through this process The Putney School has developed the goal of a net-zero campus, which they are currently implementing and pursuing.

With fuel prices tripling in recent years, and with the success of the Net-Zero Field House, both the necessity and feasibility of major energy reductions have become apparent to The Putney School. This realization led Putney to ask for an energy master plan as part of their overall campus master plan. This energy plan is intended to guide the school toward a secure, affordable, environmentally responsible energy future. As part of the plan, energy standards were developed for all future renovations and new construction, as well as recommendations for renewable energy sources to meet the reduced building energy loads. The plan outlines the necessary actions steps to move toward the goal of a net-zero campus.


It was discovered through the process of this energy master plan that the premium for improving the campus to net-zero standards was just under $19,000,000. And although the full PV option had the highest installation cost of any scenario, it also had the lowest long-term environmental impact including the lowest operational cost and lowest maintenance costs.

The recommendations to the school included:

1. Performing micro-load retrofits whenever possible;
2. Install biomass nodes for the largest existing users;
3. Retrofit peripheral buildings with air source heat pumps and solar hot water;
4. Raise funds for and install PV arrays in chunks;
5. Concurrently raise funds for and implement micro-load improvements for all buildings including the installation of air source heat pumps and solar hot water systems;

Project Details


Putney, VT




Goal to have a Net Zero Campus