Eco Schoolhouse Slideshow

Eco Schoolhouse Slideshow 2017-10-12T15:42:53+00:00

Project Description

  • Before an arson fire destroyed it, the above trailer was used as a classroom at Grant Elementary School in Columbia, Missouri.
  • When the Columbia Public School District lost an overflow classroom trailer to arson fire in 2007, PWA proposed replacing it in a way that would best serve the School District, teachers and children.
  • Reminiscent of the one room schoolhouses in which many of our grandparents were educated, the Eco School House is an energy efficient alternative to trailer classrooms commonly found at schools throughout the United States.
  • 100% of the labor and services for the Eco Schoolhouse were completed on a pro bono basis with donations of design, materials and construction from over 150 people in 40 organizations.
  • Laborers maneuver the SIPS of the Eco Schoolhouse roof into place.
  • The design team selected native Missouri plants for the landscaping that would require less water and maintenance. Rain barrels at each corner of the building collect water for irrigation.
  • The structure and framing of the Eco Schoolhouse consists of a Structural Insulated Panel System (SIPS).
  • The Structural Insulated Panel system of the Eco Schoolhouse provides R-24 walls and R-42 roof.
  • Perforated, recycled aluminum with batt acoustical treatment was use on end walls and ceiling of the Eco Schoolhouse for improved sound quality.
  • An interactive SMART Board, zero VOC paint and adhesives, custom cabinetry, an acoustical wall and ceiling treatment, and GREENGUARD® compliant furniture are just a few of the features that combine to create an ideal learning environment for students and teachers.
  • As students move their chairs across the bio-based tile floor teachers have an opportunity to talk about rapidly-renewable materials. Low-e, double-glazed, argon-filled windows provide natural light and exterior views while serving as a visible example of energy efficiency.

Project Goals

The primary goals for the Eco Schoolhouse were 1) to design a new classroom that would have a reduced environmental impact; 2) to increase student and staff health; 3) to increase student performance; and 4) to have the building be a teaching tool on the merits of sustainable design. The result of this design focus prompted the school’s principal and teachers to integrate sustainability into the school curriculum. The following activities have been instituted:

The Snowball Effect

  • Local utility representatives spoke to students about energy efficiency and sustainability issues
  • Parents, children and businesses donated time and materials for the garden which has become a National Wildlife Society Certified Wildlife Habitat
  • All Grant School students participated in creating the “windows” sculpture installed on the south wall above the garden
  • Fourth graders collaborated on a poem based on their experiences in the garden
  • Styrofoam lunch trays were replaced with a biodegradable product
  • The school’s recycling program has expanded
  • An Eco Club and a Stream Team now focus on environmental issues
  • Paper consumption at Grant School was reduced
  • An Eco School House song was written and performed by kids at various community events
  • A School House Rock event was held to demonstrate “green” school activities
  • The Eco School House has been on the Missouri Solar Homes Tour for the past 2 years
  • Partnerships with community groups and business neighbors has reduced the need for parking and increased walking to school
  • Bike racks were installed to promote alternative transportation.
  • Posters were created for the project that could be used for presentation about the benefits of the Eco Schoolhouse's design.
  • One of the primary goals of the Eco Schoolhouse projects was to have the building serve as a teaching tool on the merits of sustainable design.
  • The building, prominently located on a major street adjacent to the 100-year-old Grant Elementary School, offers the public a tangible example of the school's sustainability focus.
  • Parents, children and businesses donated time and materials for the garden which has become a National Wildlife Society Certified Wildlife Habitat.
  • All Grant School students participated in creating the “windows” sculpture installed on the south wall above the garden and fourth graders collaborated on a poem based on their experiences in the garden.
  • The Eco School House is bounded on the north by a small existing parking lot, on the south and east by “trailer classrooms,” and on the west by the existing school. A native landscape planted by a parents group replaced 1,000 square feet of asphalt.
  • The project created a "snowball effect" prompting the principal and teachers to integrate sustainability into the school curriculum and parents to donate time and materials to expand the garden.
  • The 2 kW photovoltaic system supplies approximately 50% of the building’s power (corrected for local weather, solar array output rated at 3000 kilowatt-hours per year, building energy consumption approximately 7,364 kilowatt-hours per year).
  • The Columbia Public School District has compared the energy use in this classroom with other buildings in the District. Energy use ranges from $1.20/sf/year to $4/sf/year in the 35 District buildings. The Eco Schoolhouse is 68 cents/sf/year with only a half year of use of the Photovoltaics.
  • The Eco Schoolhouse is a classroom where sustainable learning is integrated into the curriculum.

Building Performance

Of the five adjunct classrooms, the Eco School House had the lowest rate of absenteeism and visits to the nurse. This suggests that the building’s conditions enable better attendance and health, which generally lead to better learning. Additionally, the School District has compared the Eco Schoolhouse’s energy use (at $.67/square foot/year) to 35 of the District’s buildings with energy use ranging from $1.20/s.f./year to $4/s.f./year. They also compared the energy use of this classroom with the use of the standard mobile classroom that it replaced. The Eco School House used only 8,171 kwh in its first year of operation, which is 46% of the energy used by a standard mobile classroom.

Sustainable Design Benefits

  • Skylights and indirect, energy-efficient lighting fixtures provide a well-lit and calming classroom atmosphere.
  • Built-in recycling station encourages sustainable practices.
  • Floor tile, a low-emitting, durable and rapidly renewable, domestically grown corn product, lowers maintenance costs and improves indoor air quality.
  • Energy Recovery Unit captures energy from exhaust air to pretreat incoming air, while the CO2 Sensor monitors air quality and controls fresh air supply on demand.
  • Airlock Entry reduces air infiltration.
  • Native plantings require less water and maintenance.
  • Photovoltaic panels supply roughly 36% of the building’s power needs.
  • Roof reflects heat and lowers the building’s cooling load.
  • Recycled aluminum acoustical panels improve the building’s sound quality.
  • Durable, waste reducing, prefabricated SIP construction with a vapor barrier minimizes air/water infiltration and maximizes thermal efficiency.
  • Energy-efficient heat pump enhances low temperature heating capability.
  • Windows provide natural daylighting and cross-ventilation while roof overhangs reduce harsh light and heat.
  • Low VOC paints and coatings improve indoor air quality.
  • Rain barrels capture water and a drip irrigation efficiently funnels water to the landscape.
  • Light-colored concrete paving helps moderate exterior air temperature.
  • Fly-ash, a post-industrial recycled product, improves concrete performance.
  • Durable fiber cement siding lasts longer and requires less maintenance than traditional vinyl siding.
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