Zero Energy

Bard Early College High School

District of Columbia Public SchoolsWashington, DC

As part of DC Public School’s Capital Improvement Plan, Bard High School was identified as a facility needing full renovation and modernization. Located at 1351 Alabama Avenue, the 115,000 SF facility was redesigned and modernized to become the home of Bard High School Early College DC. This district-wide high school program allows students to earn both a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree. CMTA provided MEP engineering, security, and technology design services for this renovation and addition project.

The four-story building was transformed from an open-plan elementary school to a state-of-the-art, 21st century high school facility. The modernization includes a new basketball court, track and sports field, a black box theater, and a media center lounge. During the design phase, CMTA worked extensively with the architect to calculate what wall types would be the most effective solution for the renovation. We analyzed R-values, infiltration rates, constructability, and life cycle costs to select an optimized, energy-efficient envelope. During construction, we performed building pressurization testing to ensure our infiltration specifications were being met. The envelope performed at 0.139 CFM/SF at 75 pascals, 0.011 less than the goal of 0.15 CFM/SF.

The building utilizes a geothermal water source heat pump system to provide heating and cooling to the school. Individual heat pumps in the classroom provide localized heating and cooling to the spaces. A centralized Dedicated Outside Air System (DOAS) provides filtered clean air to the building. The DOAS system strategically delivers outside air to areas where occupants are located as they move throughout the building, using demand-controlled ventilation.

A key factor in the successful installation of the wellfield was the phasing of the site construction with the building work. While one portion of the wellfield was being used as laydown space and access to the building, the other side was being installed. Once half the wellfield was completed, the drillers transitioned to the other side, and the construction access and laydown area shifted to the newly drilled wellfield.

Though the building was designed to perform at a 22.9 EUI, it is currently performing at a 20 EUI. The renovation project is targeting net zero energy with the installation of a 630kW photovoltaic array, with an annual yearly production of 765Mwh. Due to the project’s high-performance focus, Bard High School is pursuing LEED Gold Certification and was designed to WELL principles, furthering the district’s commitment to sustainability and wellness.

Now, with this beautiful, modernized building, Bard has a permanent home to provide innovative and tuition-free pathways to college.

Muriel Bowser

Washington, D.C. Mayor