Case Study: Consulting Engineering

Barkley Elementary School

Department of Defense Education ActivityFort Campbell, Kentucky

DoDEA's Most Energy Efficient School

Barkley Elementary School is one of the first schools designed under the Department of Defense Education Activity’s new 21st Century education charter, an initiative seeking to create modern learning environments. This forward-thinking, high-performance project on the Fort Campbell Army Installation features sustainable building systems that provide drastic reductions in energy consumption.

The Challenges

  • Deliver a high performance school within budget through real value engineering.
  • Adhere to strict government and military requirements.
  • Collaborate with a large team of owner-user groups and design consultants.
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CMTA’s unique insights helped deliver a school that is an awesome prototype for the future. Created with Sketch.

Douglas M. Brown


The Solutions

When the Department of Defense Education Activity contacted CMTA, they were looking for a group of trailblazers to bring decades of experience to the table. Our role was to help the owner and design team achieve drastic energy reductions for their new school by maximizing the building envelope, HVAC, and lighting systems. Barkley is not only innovative and energy efficient but also inspires safe, yet dynamic, learning opportunities with tubular daylighting, a visible mechanical room, and a green roof.

CMTA’s Building Science Leadership principles were instrumental to the success of this project. We applied our real-world performance data to calibrate our models and present design alternatives that allowed the stakeholders to make more informed decisions during the design process. Collaborative conversations allowed CMTA to work with the stakeholders to arrive at innovative systems choices.

To deliver this new Zero Energy Ready facility that achieved 60% energy savings (compared to a typical school of similar size) and produced as low as 22.4 EUI (kBtu/SF/year), the team incorporated leading-edge design elements, including a geothermal HVAC system, ICF building envelope, solar hot water heating, and a photovoltaic (PV) array.

Exceeding Expectations vs. Meeting Requirements

In 2015, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) selected two separate project teams to design and construct two new elementary schools at Fort Campbell Army Installation. Both Barkley and Marshall Elementary Schools were to be designed to meet the UFC requirements and outperform the ASHRAE 90.1 (2007) standard. Constructed side by side, these projects offered a unique opportunity to compare the impact of design decisions on building performance. Despite comparable building sizes, similar performance targets, and standardized UFC requirements, the projects experienced drastic performance differences. CMTA implemented several design strategies to keep the project within budget and optimize building performance, including right-sized equipment to reduce first costs, an enhanced building envelope, energy-efficient HVAC systems, and LED lighting.

Barkley Elementary's performance is a direct result of its adoption of high-performance design strategies, setting it apart from its neighboring school that implemented traditional design approaches. CMTA delivered this high-performance school at a total cost of $296 per square foot, almost $30/sf less than Marshall Elementary. To date, Barkley Elementary is DoDEA's most energy-efficient school. Operating at a 26.8 EUI, Barkley Elementary not only continues to outperform Marshall but does so while being nearly 30,000 square feet larger, utilizing 50% less energy and achieving significantly reduced operating costs.

The Results

Barkley Elementary is DoDEA's most energy-efficient, Zero Energy Ready school – delivered within budget. It not only cost less to construct but also costs less to operate than typical schools of a similar size.

Due to the project's success, the school has received several design awards, including Building the Future by USACE, Design Honor Award by the Department of Defense, Award of Excellence by Chief of Engineers, Learning by Design Citation by AIA and a Design Citation by American School and University.

Barkley Elementary Energy Use

What does this data mean?
Baseline: AIA 2030 Annual Energy Use Goal
Actual: The measured energy use of this project