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Green machine: Janet Durgin Guild and Commons at Sonoma Academy

Honorable Mention: A college prep school gets an uber-green maker space and cooking lab.

May 24, 2018 |
Sonoma Academy’s new education center

Floor-to-ceiling glass and operable glass walls create a strong connection to the outdoors for students at Sonoma Academy’s new education center. Photo: Celso Rojas.

In designing this nature-inspired education center for the Sonoma Academy college prep school in Santa Rosa, Calif., the project team employed several creative design and engineering solutions to meet the owner’s strict sustainability and energy efficiency objectives.

The unusual building—a hybrid maker space, cooking lab, and learning facility—features geoexchange and radiant systems that drive down energy use and reduce water demand. The mechanical system captures waste heat from the ventilation air and refrigeration system in the commercial kitchen, and uses it for space heating and domestic hot water production. Native plants on the rooftop support local pollinators, provide insulation, keep the undersides of the photovoltaic arrays cool.

The building is one of just a handful of projects nationwide to seek certification through three green benchmark systems. It is on track to receive LEED Platinum, Living Building Challenge, and WELL certification this year, and is also on pace to earn LBC Material and Energy Petals.


Building Team — Submitting firm, architect WRNS Studio Owner Sonoma Acacemy Structural engineer Mar Structural Design Mechanical, plumbing engineer Interface Engineering Electrical engineer Integral Group General contractor XL Construction

General Information — Size 22,000 sf Construction cost Confidential Construction time September 2016 to January 2018 Delivery method Design-bid-build



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