Buckley Elementary School

Manchester, Connecticut

Buckley Elementary is the State of Connecticut's first renovate-as-new Net Zero Energy school renovation project. The 67,357 square foot building underwent an extensive renovation focused on bringing sustainability, energy efficiency and innovative learning to the community. Buckley Elementary was the first of three comprehensive renovation projects with similar goals. Manchester School District also incorporated Net Zero into the design of Mansfield Elementary and Bowers Elementary School. These healthy and efficient schools will save the district substantial amounts of money in operating costs. This project not only exceeded the goals set during planning and design, but also was completed significantly under budget.

CMTA began the project by studying all features of the building envelope, including walls, windows and roof systems. Because Buckley Elementary is an existing building, the orientation remained unchanged. The building’s orientation is ideally situated in a north/south arrangement, creating optimal space for a roof-mounted solar photovoltaic array to offset the building’s utility demand. The 391kW roof-mounted solar array will generate enough energy annually to meet all of the building’s energy demands.

The original Buckley Elementary School was built in 1952. Since then, it has accumulated various remedial updates, which presented several challenges for the project. CMTA’s strategy to make this project successful utilized a whole building blower door pressure test to validate the tightness of construction, as well as thermal scanning and imaging. Enhanced roof and wall insulation, appropriate use of glazing, demand control ventilation, geothermal heating and cooling, and photovoltaic arrays are all components for this renovated facility.

This high performance building exceeds code minimum requirements and supplies outside air directly from the dedicated outside air unit to the individual spaces maximizing effectiveness. Demand control ventilation strategies were implemented to regulate ventilation air throughout the building, based on occupancy and carbon dioxide levels. The project received a $237,000 utility incentive and bid 10% under budget, including the solar pv array.