Ashley McGraw Architects Designs New York’s First Net Zero Energy School District Building

Located upstate, this 4000-square-foot project could become New York State’s first net zero school district building when it’s completed in 2010.

Designed by Syracuse-based Ashley McGraw Architects’ Advanced Building Studio, the Liberty Central School District’s new Media Center in Liberty, New York could become the state’s first net zero energy school district building after it breaks ground this summer.

The 4000-square-foot Media Center should open in time for the 2010 school year; many of the project’s green design strategies are those which critics of the recent NAIOP study (which we wrote about extensively over at GRELJ) decried as lacking in the study’s methodoloy, which concluded that 30 to 50 percent reductions in energy consumption over ASHRAE 90.1-2004 were not practicable for most owners given current technologies and corresponding payback periods.

For example, Ashley McGraw implemented a comprehensive site orientation and daylighting strategy, designing the structure’s shape and windows to provide sufficient natural north light to the project’s interiors, as well as low-level south- and west-facing windows which will reduce both solar heat gain and corresponding cooling loads. The design team projects around 153,000 kBTU annually in energy consumption (compared with an average of 311,000 kBTU for a school addition of comparable size); building-integrated photovoltaic panels should supply that amount of electricity to power the Media Center completely.

Computers in the building lobby will also provide students and staff with real-time data on the building’s energy consumption. Firm principal Peter Larson calls the project “a teaching tool for science classes and a model for other school districts to emulate.”

Ashley McGraw collaborated on its design with the Munly Brown Studio.

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