New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) partnered with the S/L/A/M Collaborative to design the Metropolitan Business Academy, an energy-efficient 89,000-square-foot school in New Haven, CT. NHPS wanted to develop a building that incorporates energy efficiency and conservation, maintainability, and a healthy environment for the students, faculty, and staff. In addition, the project is part of a 14-year program started by the City of New Haven in 1996 to rebuild 47 public schools. Due to growing utility costs, the City and its School Construction Program later introduced the High Performance Schools Design Requirements (HPSDR), which mandate that every project be designed with an eye toward energy efficiency and sustainability. S/L/A/M focuses on these practices in the early stages of the design process to deliver projects that reduce impact on the environment and enhance the health of occupants.
Because HPSDR would be applied to many projects, it was determined that a consistent protocol would be needed to gauge progress. To this end, S/L/A/M and NHPS used EPA's Target Finder tool to set and evaluate intended energy use goals. The Metropolitan Business Academy rated 90 out of 100 in the tool, thus achieving Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR. The project is expected to use 41 percent less energy and produce 41 percent less CO₂ emissions than an average, similar building.
During the construction phase, students from around the district will participate in the Kids Build Program, which brings 6th graders to the architect's office and the project site to learn about the design and construction of sustainable buildings. NHPS hopes that lessons on energy and conservation will encourage students to think of themselves as stewards of the building and the environment. Once the facility opens, the Kids Build participants will present what they have learned and the environmental aspects of the school to their classmates.
Several design elements help make the Metropolitan Business Academy energy-efficient. The exterior envelope will be thoroughly insulated. Classrooms with a high density of occupants, which will therefore generate a surplus of internal heat while in use, are located on the north, cooler side of the building. Spaces that are on average less occupied, such as the library and dining center, are located on the south side. Windows have been appropriately located throughout the building to take advantage of daylighting and will been screened to avoid excessive solar gain. The heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is designed to move only as much fresh air as needed for proper ventilation. Heat recovery will be incorporated, as well as a thermal energy storage system so that off-peak electricity can be used to generate cooling for the following day's needs. A photovoltaic array is also planned for the rooftop.
Architect of Record:
The S/L/A/M Collaborative, Inc.
OLA Consulting Engineers
New Haven Public Schools
Design Rating / % Energy and CO₂ Reduction*:
90 / 41%
Design / Completion Date:
2008 / Summer 2009
Estimated Energy Use
Estimated Total Annual
Estimated Annual Energy Cost:
Thoroughly insulated exterior envelope; rooms oriented with north or south facing windows to control heat gain; daylighting strategies; screened windows; high-efficiency HVAC system; heat recovery and thermal energy storage system; photovoltaic cells.
For More Information:
Glenn R. Gollenberg, AIA
The S/L/A/M Collaborative, Inc.
*Percent Energy and CO₂ Reductions are compared with an average building of similar type.