To increase NeoCity Academy’s ability to succeed at their STEM mission, CMTA designed the building to be Zero Energy and meet rigorous WELL Building design standards, both are firsts for the State of Florida.
The building design increases student performance by utilizing strategies that are supported by research and data to contribute to student success. The building features wellness strategies for both HVAC and lighting. NeoCity Academy includes increased outside air ventilation in learning spaces to control peak carbon dioxide levels to increase student’s cognitive ability. Conditioning this outside air comes with an energy impact. Through innovative design, CMTA was able to fit this increased outside air into a zero-energy design. The lighting design includes both daylighting and LED light fixtures. This supports alertness during the day and are in alignment with our natural circadian rhythm
Geothermal is usually the best option for a zero-energy design. Soil conditions, however, were not ideal for a geothermal wellfield at the project location. CMTA overcame this by taking less efficient equipment and designing the control strategies to make it fit into the zero-energy design.
Climate zone is a very important factor in achieving a zero-energy building. NeoCity Academy was built in one of the most hot and humid climates in the US. Demand control ventilation was utilized to reduce the amount of cooling and dehumidification necessary for outdoor airflow. By delivering outside air directly where the occupants are, CMTA was able to maintain increased airflow without expending excess energy while maintaining appropriate temperature and humidity levels.
Due to the buildings 3-story design, the available roof area to mount the PV panels is significantly reduced. The project teams first goal was minimized the energy consumption to an EUI of 20.3, significantly below the county’s other schools. The roof was not large enough to mount all the panels, so the dining and food truck canopies were also integrated with PV panels on the roof.
Phillip Donovan, AIA, Project Architect with Little Diversified Architects said of CMTA; “CMTA masterfully led the client through the evaluation and selection of a new type of mechanical system. Through expertise, data collection and a trade-off process, the team met the project goals while making the client very comfortable with the change.”