Zero Energy

Poolesville High School

Montgomery County Public SchoolsPoolesville, Maryland

Poolesville High School, a leading educational institution in Maryland, is known for the distinctive structure of its educational programs. However, the school's physical layout, constructed in phases since 1951, had evolved into a complex group of buildings that were poorly aligned with the school’s innovative magnet programs, presenting an outdated and disjointed learning environment. CMTA was hired by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to provide MEP engineering for the renovation and addition project, transforming Poolesville High School into a contemporary facility that supports the school’s unique instructional program.

CMTA’s Net Zero design incorporates several energy-efficient strategies, including a 200-well geothermal HVAC system, stormwater management features, and provisions for the installation of a solar photovoltaic array. The design also prioritizes student health and wellness by incorporating access to natural light and enhanced indoor air quality. With a Global Ecology magnet program, MCPS wanted to not only modernize the facility with a Net Zero design but also incorporate these sustainable design features into their curriculum. Essentially, the renovated high school will function both as a high-performance facility and as a dynamic educational resource, where the building’s design and functionality contribute directly to the student’s learning experiences.

To minimize educational disruption, the design team adopted a phased, occupied renovation strategy. The existing structures will remain intact while fully renovating the interior spaces to improve security, accommodate new programs, increase flexibility, and maximize building performance.

The renovation project also contributes significantly towards meeting Montgomery County’s environmental goals, which include completely eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 and reducing water consumption by 20% by 2024. The design is targeting 3 Globes under the Green Globes Building Certification for its environmental sustainability and resiliency.