Cielo Azul Elementary School, an 85,000-square-foot building in Rio Rancho, NM, was designed by architect Dekker/Perich/Sabatini for owner Rio Rancho Public Schools (RRPS) to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of a previous prototype design. RRPS wanted to provide an environmentally responsible and healthy school for 800 students, and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini has broad experience in designing sustainable, high-performance buildings that meet tenant needs and budgets.
Dekker/Perich/Sabatini believes that EPA's Target Finder tool provides the right metrics to accurately quantify and verify performance goals. When the design team calculated estimated energy use with the tool, Cielo Azul rated 93 out of 100 and achieved Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR.
With an expected energy reduction of 45 percent compared with an average building, Cielo Azul will serve as a model of superior energy performance for future New Mexico schools. Extensive studies on the costs and benefits of the building's green features are ongoing and will be shared with other school districts.
Energy-efficient design features of Cielo Azul include a high-efficiency rooftop mechanical system, increased wall and roof insulation, efficient glazing, and the use of daylighting. In addition, the building is estimated to use 50 percent less water indoors than an average building, due to water-conserving fixtures such as dual flush toilets and waterless urinals.
Architect of Record:
Rio Rancho Public Schools
Design Rating / % Energy and CO₂ Reduction*:
93 / 45%
Design / Completion Date:
2008 / 2008
Estimated Energy Use
Estimated Total Annual
Estimated Annual Energy Cost:
High-efficiency rooftop mechanical system; increased wall and roof insulation; efficient glazing; daylighting; indoor water-conserving fixtures.
For More Information:
Julie Walleisa, AIA
*Percent Energy and CO₂ Reductions are compared with an average building of similar type.