The Willow School Attains Net Zero Goals

The Willow School Attains Net Zero Goals

Loring continues its long tradition of groundbreaking building systems design with the completion of a new 22,000-square foot Health, Wellness and Nutrition Center at The Willow School. The center is expected to obtain LEED Platinum status as well as certification from the Living Building Challenge, the most advanced measure of sustainability. These certification processes are now in progress, and preliminary building performance data confirms conformance with Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) goals.

The project won top honors from ACEC’s New York chapter, earning a Diamond Award for Engineering Excellence in the category of building/technology systems in March 2016, and went on to be named one of the top 24 projects by ACEC’s National Council. Juried by a panel of 28 judges representing a cross-section of industry, government, academia, and media, Loring’s national Honor Award was announced at the Engineering Excellence Awards ceremony on April 19 in Washington, DC.

The Health, Wellness and Nutrition Center represents the third sustainable, leading-edge building Loring has designed at The Willow School campus since its opening in 2000. Phase One, a 14,000-square foot primary (K-6) classroom facility, built in 2004, was the first LEED Gold-certified school building in the U.S. and was called “the greenest building in New Jersey” at the time (The New York Times, 12/29/2004). Phase Two, completed in 2007, comprised conversion and expansion of an existing barn into an Arts Barn housing classrooms and a multifunctional movement studio. The Arts Barn was the first LEED Platinum-certified school building in New Jersey.

“It continues to be a privilege to work with The Willow School on projects of such great significance to our children and to the environment. Working with an owner and a design team who are committed to environmental stewardship, we continue to move the needle on what is achievable in energy-efficient building design,” says Loring Principal and Senior Vice President Vincent Farese, PE, LEED AP. “We hope our success will serve as a model for future educational and campus facilities to achieve similar goals.”

Systems in Synergy

Acting as Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Protection, Telecommunications, and Security Engineer, Loring achieved Net Zero Energy status for the Health, Wellness and Nutrition Center through the use of natural daylighting and highly efficient systems, including a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heat pump system that allows for simultaneous heating and cooling in different zones; a dedicated heat recovery-type exhaust/make-up air unit for the commercial kitchen; a roof-mounted photovoltaic system that will produce more energy than the building consumes annually; instantaneous and heat pump-type electric domestic water heaters and a building energy management system that signals occupants when windows can be opened for natural ventilation and automatically adjusts HVAC system output to occupancy levels. The building was constructed with a super-high-performance building envelope and extensive natural daylighting, and has a rainwater harvesting system.