Sandia Vista Elementary School is an 85,000-square-foot public school that was designed to provide an ecologically sound and healthy environment for 800 students. The building design is based on a previous prototype, which owner Rio Rancho Public Schools (RRPS) and architect Dekker/Perich/Sabatini adapted to improve energy efficiency and overall sustainability. RRPS has committed to building green schools, and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini has extensive experience in designing sustainable, high-performance buildings that meet both budgets and tenants' needs.
Dekker/Perich/Sabatini and RRPS used EPA's Target Finder to establish and evaluate energy performance goals and convey the importance of energy efficiency in the building design. When estimated energy use data were entered into the tool, the project rated 92 out of 100 and achieved Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR.
The school is expected to use 45 percent less energy than an average comparable building and will serve as a model of superior energy performance for future New Mexico schools. Extensive studies relating to the costs and benefits of Sandia Vista's green features are underway and will be shared with other school districts.
Sandia Vista's energy-efficient design features include a high-efficiency rooftop mechanical system, increased wall and roof insulation, efficient glazing, and the use of daylighting. The school is also expected to use 50 percent less water indoors compared with an average similar 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*:
92 / 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.