It makes sense that a building dedicated to environmental studies would focus on sustainability as much as the new Center for Environmental Studies at Bishop O’Dowd high school does. The 5,500-sf laboratory, designed by Siegel & Strain, includes two laboratory classroom spaces that expand onto a large outdoor patio overlooking San Francisco Bay.
The LEED Platinum and Zero Net Energy Verified building minimizes energy use via its site orientation. South-facing clerestory windows are protected from unwanted solar gain by a deep overhang. A large porch shades the west end of the building and wraps around the structure to the north to cover the outdoor classroom.
A 4,300-gallon cistern that collects rainwater for toilet flushing and irrigation and low-flow water fixtures have reduced potable water by 60% over baseline water usage. The building materials used were natural, non-toxic, renewable, and recycled.