Graceland Elementary / Middle School & Holabird Academy

Baltimore, Maryland

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: the Graceland Park/O'Donnell Heights Elementary/Middle School and Holabird Middle School. The new K-8 schools were designed as 21st century learning environments, utilizing project-based learning initiatives. BCPS decided to challenge traditional sustainability and energy efficiency goals, electing to build new prototype schools that would be designed to be zero energy.

During the design process, CMTA worked closely with the architectural firm Grimm + Parker and BCPS to challenge previous ways that buildings have been designed for the school system. Through our First 30 collaborative effort, CMTA was able to drive down energy usage in the buildings by examining all energy sources. A geothermal heat pump system was determined to be the best solution, achieving an EUI of 18 kbtu/yr per square foot, which was 30% below the original goal for the new schools.

The potential of this design's drastic energy reduction resulted in BCPS being awarded the Maryland Energy Authority Zero Energy Grant to purchase the renewable energy source for this project. The project bid within the original budget, and the renewable energy cost only added 2.5% to the project budget. This has resulted in two 94,000 square foot Urban School Prototypes that were designed to achieve Zero Energy and LEED Platinum Certification within their traditional project budgets. A SPHERE Dashboard was installed to tie building features into the school curriculum. SPHERE is an interactive learning dashboard that allows users to view real-time building energy data, virtual spaces and education.