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ENERGY STAR Labeled Building Profile

Snipes Academy of Arts & Design
2150 Chestnut Street
Wilmington, NC 28405
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The original plan for Snipes Academy of Arts and Design included reusing portions of the existing school buildings on the site. Several plans and cost estimates were developed in an attempt to save the existing gym and auditorium. In the end, it was determined that New Hanover County Schools would benefit most from a new, energy-efficient building that could be located to maximize the open space on the compact urban site. From the beginning, the team?s approach was to create an energy-efficient building. The orientation of the site lent itself to this goal. EPA?s Target Finder was used as a tool to set the energy efficiency goals for the project and again at the end of design to evaluate the system, which earned an ENERGY STAR energy performance score of 82, qualifying the project for recognition as Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR. Early in the design process, management also decided to pursue LEED certification under LEED for Schools 2007.


One of the challenges of the project was demolition waste. An entire elementary school had to be removed from the site before construction could begin. In order to qualify for LEED points for Construction Waste Management, as much as possible of the demolition waste needed to be diverted from the landfill. A local contractor was able to divert approximately 94 percent of the existing building from the landfill.

Snipes Academy of Arts and Design was designed as a sustainable site and a high-performing building that will provide long-term energy savings for the district. Specific features include: masonry load bearing construction; pervious pavement, bio-retention, and rainwater collection cisterns for irrigation; a highly reflective roof system; 41 percent reduction in water usage through low-flow fixtures including waterless urinals; high-efficient lighting with automated lighting controls, south-facing sunscreens and daylighting in all instructional areas; an energy-efficient closed-loop water source heat pump system with a dedicated outside air system, which according to calculations for LEED EAc1 provide a 37 percent reduction in energy use over the ASHRAE 90.1 2004 baseline; 2.5-inch spray foam insulation on all exterior walls and air barrier technologies; regional, recycled content, and low-emitting materials; indoor air quality management plan used during construction; and commissioning of all building systems. These efforts, along with many others, helped Snipes Academy of Arts and Design earn LEED Gold certification in May 2012.


During the preparation of the construction documents, many products were specified to be ENERGY STAR compliant: the built-up roof system, all residential appliances, commercial mobile hot cabinets and reach-in refrigerators, and the condensing boiler. The cooling towers were specified to be NEMA Premium Efficient. The HVAC system includes energy recovery make-up air units. The building automation system has a microprocessor based control system specifically designed to provide control of equipment, manage energy and support a preventative maintenance program. The building has an energy monitoring system that allows the students to follow the actual energy consumption of the building throughout the day and compare it to other days/months throughout the year.


A primary concept of sustainable design is the relationship of the components. Although the LEED ?points? are counted separately, the true test of integrated design is the understanding of how all aspects of the design come together and influence the overall result. For example, the use of daylighting in classroom improves student performance, but also allows for lighting controls/sensors to reduce the amount of artificial light needed. Less artificial light reduces energy costs - but also reduces the need for cooling, thereby downsizing the HVAC equipment and further reducing energy costs, as well as the upfront cost of equipment. Highly reflective (white) roofing membrane reduces the ?heat island? effect and building load as well, allowing further reductions in cooling loads. How it all works together is the key to integrated design and successful LEED or energy efficient projects.


The most innovative feature of this project is the incorporation of the building, building systems, and site as a teaching tool in the classroom. Students are constantly learning about the environment in which they live. A curriculum was created to illustrate to the students how the building and site work, separately and together. The overall site and building create a stimulating learning environment for kids focused on arts and design, as well as the importance of understanding the world they live in. There are also many innovative features that enhance the performance of the site, building, and school as a teaching tool.

Outdoor areas for instruction and learning were incorporated into the site design. Rain gardens will be maintained by the students utilizing a cistern where they can measure rain fall. A ?green team? will coordinate recycling efforts and promote energy-saving behavior with students, staff members, and teachers. An interactive dashboard display will measure real-time energy usage and efficiencies and display this information via a touch-screen monitor in the public lobby, the school?s Web page, and in each classroom through the school computer network. This system gives teachers the ability to integrate the school as a teaching tool into their regular curriculum and gives kids the ability to apply real-time energy data in their current studies and daily activities. The site contains two 12,500-gallon cisterns beneath the play field for rain-water collection. All water collected from the building?s roof drains (except for the one that feeds the above-grade cistern) are directed to the 25,000 gallon retention. This water is reused for all on site irrigation. To aid in student learning and environmental awareness, a smaller 300-gallon, above-ground cistern is located adjacent to the building in the rain garden.






Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by New Hanover County Schools or a representative of this facility. Other building information was verified and submitted to EPA at the time of application. Building energy performance, operating characteristics, and ownership/management may be subject to change over time.

Building Owner:*
New Hanover County Schools

Property Manager:*
New Hanover County Schools

Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
2012 (79)

Facility Type: K-12 School

Total Floorspace: 90000 sf

Year Constructed: 2010

Contract Type: Single Turn-Key Contract
Financing Type: Public Bond

Technologies Used:
   Stage 1-Recommissioning
   Stage 2-Lighting
   Stage 3-Load Reductions
   Stage 4-Fan Systems
   Stage 5-Heating and Cooling Plant
   Other Technologies/Strategies