Odyssey Charter School Prototype-2 is a 46,000–square-foot preschool through 8th grade charter school designed by Spacecoast Architects P.A., a firm specializing in sustainable design. Spacecoast Architects looked for a nationally recognized program to help achieve its energy performance goals for Prototype-2 and decided on ENERGY STAR.
The predecessor to Prototype-2 is Odyssey Charter School in Palm Bay, FL, which has demonstrated superior operating performance and received the ENERGY STAR in 2007 with an energy performance rating of 95. This initial project was built at half the construction costs of a typical school in the same area and to the same educational facility standards. The school achieves its energy efficiency through appropriate site orientation, extensive use of daylighting strategies, incorporation of mass to help moderate temperature swings, proper material selection, advanced HVAC design, demand management strategies, and energy systems commissioning.
Prototype-2 achieved Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR for estimated design energy use in EPA’s Target Finder. Using Target Finder allowed the architects to validate these and other energy-saving design strategies. After the school is completed and occupied for a year, Prototype-2 will also be eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR if it operates as the design intended. Not only is the school designed as a top energy performer, but lower absenteeism, higher academic performance, and improved indoor air quality are also expected to be some of the measurable benefits of investing in the school’s energy efficiency.
Like other charter schools in Florida, Prototype-2 needed to obtain private financing for the construction project, and then the school will pay the “mortgage” with annual revenues received from the school board. Obtaining financing is a difficult and uncertain process because charter schools are still new in the state and do not have a significant history of performance. The ENERGY STAR earned by the first prototype helped assure the school board’s lenders that Prototype-2 is expected to be a worthwhile investment and have similar energy performance.
Scheduled to be completed in 2010, Prototype-2 is expected to achieve even higher energy efficiency through automated lighting control systems and the integration of on-site renewable energy generation through thin film photovoltaics. The building will be oriented along an East-West axis to maximize daylighting and minimize potential heating and cooling loads. Classrooms are designed with north facing lower “vision” apertures and upper “daylight” apertures to benefit from the higher quality north lighting.
HVAC systems are designed to allow each classroom to be independently cooled or naturally ventilated without disrupting other occupied spaces. Prototype-2 also uses a fully computerized digital Energy Management System (EMS) to control the HVAC system. The EMS also allows the integration of other systems such as ventilation and automated lighting controls. The thermally-efficient envelope design is achieved with an Exterior Insulation Finishing system on tilt-up concrete walls, light colored reflective metal roofing, and maximum levels of roof and wall insulation.
Architect of Record:
Spacecoast Architects P.A.
Odyssey Charter School Inc.
Design Rating / % Energy and CO₂ Reduction*:
100 / 86%
Design / Completion Date:
2008 / 2010
Estimated Energy Use
Estimated Total Annual
Estimated Annual Energy Cost:
Extensive use of daylighting strategies, incorporation of mass to help moderate temperature swings, advanced HVAC design, demand management strategies, renewable energy generation through photovoltaics, computerized energy management systems, thermally-efficient insulation, and energy systems commissioning.
For More Information:
Lawrence Maxwell, AIA
Spacecoast Architects P.A.
*Percent Energy and CO₂ Reductions are compared with an average building of similar type.