This is the definition of a true Zero Energy, 21st Century school.
A New Experience for a New School
Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) needed to replace two aging urban elementary/middle schools 5 miles apart and located close to the Baltimore Inner Harbor. These new buildings were being designed as 21st Century Learning Environments that would utilize project-based learning initiatives but also wanted to challenge the traditional sustainability and energy efficient goals. They elected to provide a new prototype school which could be used in both locations but required them to be designed to be “Zero Energy Ready”.
During the design process, CMTA worked closely with the Grimm and Parker and BCPS to challenge the previous way that buildings were designed for the school system. Through our First 30 collaborative effort, we were able to drive down the energy usage in the building by challenging all energy sources within the building. This resulted in utilizing a geothermal heat pump system and achieved an EUI of 18 kbtu/yr per square foot which was 30% below their original goal for the building.
This drastic energy reduction, allowed BCPS to be awarded the Maryland Energy Authority Zero Energy Grant to purchase the renewable energy source for the project. The project bid within their original budget and the renewable energy cost only added 2.5% to the over project budget. This has resulted in BCPS having a 94,000 square foot Urban School Prototype that has been designed to achieve Zero Energy and LEED Platinum Certification within their traditional project budgets. The schools will also install a CMTA SPHERE virtual building educator to tie the building features into the curriculum.