Environmental studies building highlights sustainability in every design element

The LEED Platinum and Zero Net Energy Verified building minimizes energy use via its site orientation.

August 31, 2017 |
The exterior of the environmental studies building at Bishop O' Dowd high school

David Wakely

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.

 

Interior shot of the environmental studies building at Bishop O'Dowd high schoolDavid Wakely.

 

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.

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