Back to School Gold in Green Classrooms: RATCLIFF Designs New Energy-Efficient Windrush School Building to Take Advantage of Its Environment and Achieve a LEEDÂ® Gold Rating - August 20, 2008
On September 2, Windrush School students will return to school
and receive hands-on environmental science lessonsâ€”indoors. These lucky El Cerrito elementary and middle school
students will be learning to make the most of their innovative new library and
classrooms, some of the greenest learning spaces in the Bay Area. The building
is expected to achieve a â€œGoldâ€ rating from the U.S. Green Building Councilâ€™s
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)Â® program, a first for the
City of El Cerrito.
Taking advantage of the
schoolâ€™s bayside location, RATCLIFF (www.ratcliffarch.com)
designed the sustainable classroom addition for Windrush School
(www.windrush.org) to include features
like a green roof, skylights, photovoltaic panels, insulation made of recycled
denim, and operable windows. The total annual energy savings will be about
$16,000 â€“ the new Windrush buildingâ€™s annual energy bill will be about $500 whereas
an average comparably-sized structure has an energy bill of $16,570. Ultimately, the building is 96 percent more
energy-efficient than a comparable school building, according to the
Environmental Protection Agencyâ€™s Energy Star system.
â€œThis new classroom wing
makes living green a tangible lesson for our children,â€ says Ilana Kaufman, the
Windrush Head of School. â€œWe feel a
responsibility to our families, our faculty, and our community to set an
example of how classrooms should be designed. Itâ€™s a dynamic symbol of our
higher responsibility to the planet. This building will sustain our students
and inspire them to be environmental stewards.â€
The new wing will add seven
modern and comfortable classrooms and an expanded library to Windrush School.
RATCLIFF integrated sustainable features into all aspects of the design, such
visually-appealing building roof saves energy by combining photovoltaic panels,
green planters, and skylights. Skylights decrease electric lighting demand for
ventilated and cooled classrooms with operable windows and skylights allow
breezes from the San Francisco
Bay to eliminate need for
mechanical air conditioners.
floor heating is 60-70 percent more energy-efficient than traditional forced air
innovative concrete structure utilizes insulated concrete forms to create a
highly insulated and mold-resistant building envelope.
mix replaces 50-60 percent of the standard Portland cement with recycled fly
ash and slag saves a significant amount of energy from the cement manufacturing
planters reduce storm water runoff, while cleansing and treating remaining
storm water before it enters the City system.
plumbing fixtures save about 140,000 gallons of water annually.
interior finishes such as low volatile organic compound (VOC) emitting paint,
countertops, and ceiling tiles; a carpeting system which requires no glue in
the installation process; and durable window roller shades made of the first
â€œcradle to cradleâ€ shade cloth lessen environmental impacts.
bicycle racks encourage alternative transportation and fuel-efficient vehicles
have priority parking.
selected according to Stopwaste.orgâ€™s â€œBay Friendly Landscapingâ€ principles of
drought- tolerant plant varieties attract a variety of local bird and insect
species and require little irrigation.
The Windrush School
construction project diverted 90 percent of construction waste and will avoid
20 tons of carbon emissions annually.
Additional projects included the renovation of an existing gymnasium to
improve circulation and access to natural light; site circulation and
wheelchair accessibility improvements throughout the campus; and a new outdoor
plaza, which used boulders from the construction site as a retaining wall. RATCLIFF completed a facilities master plan
for Windrush School in 2002 to coincide with the
development of the schoolâ€™s strategic plan.
â€œRATCLIFF is pleased to
support Windrush Schoolâ€™s commitment to the environment
and provide a comprehensive, sustainable design for this classroom building,â€
Brian Feagans, NCARB, LEEDÂ® AP, RATCLIFFâ€™s project designer. â€œThis project serves as a catalyst for green
schools for this generation of students.â€
The project team included
West Coast Contractors, Timmons Design Engineers, Ingraham DeJesse, Moran
Engineering, Oâ€™Mahoney & Myer, Conco Cement, MIG, Davis Energy Group, and
Bonnie Whitler, Windrush
Schoolâ€™s Director of
Finance and Operations, as Project Manager.