The Town of Manchester is proud to announce that Buckley Elementary School is the State of Connecticut's first verified Net Zero Energy K-12 school and the first verified publicly funded Net Zero K-12 project in New England.
Certified by the New Building Institute, this recognition underscores the Town's unwavering commitment to advanced design practices, innovative technologies, and the decarbonization of the built environment. CMTA provided MEP engineering and energy modeling for this pioneering project. To achieve Net-Zero certification, the renovated Buckley school includes advanced insulation systems, solar PV arrays, and geothermal energy from on-site wells.
Buckley Elementary was the first of three comprehensive renovate-as-new projects with similar goals. The Town of Manchester, thanks to funding approved by voters and school construction grants from the State of Connecticut, also incorporated Net Zero into the design of Keeney Elementary and Bowers Elementary School. These CMTA-designed, high-performance projects will not only reduce the Town’s carbon footprint but will also save the district substantial amounts of money in operating costs.
Chairman of the Board of Education, Chris Pattacini, expressed pride in Buckley Elementary's accomplishment, highlighting the Town's ongoing dedication to sustainable and energy-efficient practices. “The Net Zero Energy Verification solidifies Manchester's position as a leader in environmentally conscious school infrastructure.”
In June 2019, as part of the SMARTR2 school renovation referendum, town residents voted 2-1 in favor of the project, which also had bipartisan support from the Boards of Directors and Board of Education. The project was completed significantly under budget, as approximately two-thirds of the project costs were funded by the State of Connecticut through its school Construction Grant Program.
“Energy efficiency work continues to be a win-win for the environment and the taxpayers of Manchester, and this Net Zero achievement is evidence of Manchester continuing to build a more efficient, thriving, and resilient community,” said Town Manager Steve Stephanou.
Buckley Elementary School sets a precedent for sustainable schools with an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 17.3. The renovation of this 1950s school exemplifies a commitment to sustainability by saving an estimated 75% of embodied carbon compared to new construction, utilizing no operational carbon (zero fossil fuels). The design prioritizes passive strategies, complemented by active systems such as photovoltaics and geothermal.
Build Green CT was the first to recognize the Buckley project with the Commercial Energy Award of Merit in 2022. The project also received a Merit Award at the 2023 AIA CT Design Awards Gala, as well as the 2023 Sustainable Architecture Award of Excellence in the category for Renovations, Adaptive Re-Use, or Retro-Fit from AIA Connecticut. Furthermore, the renovation received commendations for the implementation of an All-Electric Commercial Kitchen and Interactive Learning Features.
Superintendent of Schools, Matt Geary expressed his pride in Buckley Elementary's accomplishment, highlighting the Town's ongoing dedication to sustainable and energy-efficient practices. “The recognition we’ve received for this project is a testament to the hard work that goes into cultivating a greener footprint and more sustainable future for generations to come. In addition, our students now have a front-row seat to learning about sustainable building design.”
Chris Till, Facilities Project Manager for the Town of Manchester, who helped oversee the construction project, commented, “This was a collective effort that could not have been accomplished without the Town, Board of Education, O&G Industries, CMTA, as well as the contractors and on-site workers, and residents of Manchester. This project brings to fruition many of the Town’s sustainability and energy efficiency policies.”