Net-Zero: The Next Generation of Green Building
The Oak Park High School renovation transformed an aging facility into a model of contemporary quality and excellence in sustainable design for educational buildings across the nation, and is the first district in California to install net-zero energy classrooms on its campuses.
Over a span of only three months, the Balfour Beatty team worked with Growthpoint Structures to construct seven permanent modular classroom buildings, each achieving an incredible net-zero energy usage. The project team successfully replaced six, 25-year-old temporary classrooms with extremely energy efficient and highly functional 960-square-foot buildings.
Throughout the project timeline, Balfour Beatty provided a number of services for the Oak Park Unified School District (OPUSD) including master planning, preconstruction, and construction management services.
Each classroom building features full LED lighting, ductless HVAC systems, floor-to-ceiling windows, and solar panels that classify the buildings as “ultra-green”. These energy efficient systems significantly reduce utility usage, conserving energy and costs for the school. Each building was designed and constructed by GrowthPoint Structures and made from Intermodal Steel Building Units – repurposed single-use shipping containers. As a testament to this sustainable construction practice, each container hosts a permanent tag detailing its travel. The construction process itself placed sustainability at its forefront, saving an incredible 115 tons of landfill waste by using 85% reclaimed material. The facilities qualify for 37 LEED credits or 42 CHPS credits.
This renovation project is part of the OPUSD’s Oak Park High School Relocatable Classroom project. Balfour Beatty has provided services to OPUSD over the past several years in support of their commitment to energy efficient design; “Balfour Beatty Construction has been instrumental in the successful implementation of sustainable solutions such as the net-zero classrooms for this project, in addition to other solutions that have saved energy and money on several other modernization projects we have done together,” says Dr. Tony Knight, superintendent of the OPUSD, in a statement. “They have great expertise and a shared commitment to protecting our natural resources, and at the same time creating a healthier and more productive learning environment for our students.”
Key elements that lead to successful completion:
Early planning and bid preparation during the design phase of the project
Early recruitment and interest in bidding by contractors
Continuous review of developing design as it related to the construction schedule to determine opportunities to excel or save time and money during construction
Carefully selected “problem-solving” contractors performing the construction
This net-zero modular classroom project was honored with the “Green School” Leadership Award by the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) California Central Coast Chapter and “Green Ribbon” recognition from the U.S. Department of Education in 2013.