DC Public Schools John Lewis Elementary

Washington, DC

In recent years, District of Columbia Public Schools has been pushing the boundaries at their John Lewis Education Campus (previously West Education Campus) by building their first ground-up new elementary school. The already existing K-12 building was completely demolished, and a new state-of-the-art educational building was constructed and opened in 2021.

The original building was an open plan school with limited natural light into the building. The open space school concept, popular in the 1960s, presented a challenging educational environment for today’s teachers and students. The new school was designed as a highly energy-efficient facility that produces onsite, carbon-free renewable energy in an amount sufficient to offset the school’s annual energy use via a 450kW photovoltaic array. CMTA designed high-performance building systems including a high-efficiency geothermal HVAC system, energy efficient LED lighting, and provided natural daylighting modeling for integration into the building’s architectural design.

After the first year of occupancy, the performance of the new building improved by 40% compared to the original school building's performance. The predicted energy usage for the building was 24 EUI and after 12 months of data, the building is operating at 22.8 EUI, making John Lewis Elementary School the second-best performing school in the district, after Banneker Academic High School. This facility recently received LEED certification and is also pursuing WELL certification and the title of Washington D.C.’s first Zero Energy School. As a result, not only is the 95,000 SF school a 21st-century, award winning learning space; it will also be a national K-12 leader in sustainability once these ambitious aspirations are achieved! 

A SPHERE Dashboard was installed to tie building features into the school curriculum. This live, interactive dashboard connects learning and real-time energy data to the built environment where students and teachers can track building performance, incorporating sustainability into their curriculum.