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Nauset Construction completing sustainable dorm for Brooks School

Student input on green elements provides learning experience.

June 08, 2012 |

As the school year draws to a close, Nauset Construction will be putting the final touches on the newly constructed, environmentally-friendly 22-bedroom dormitory for Brooks School in North Andover, an independent college preparatory boarding and day school for grades 9-12.

In addition to providing additional housing, the $3.3 million project created a learning opportunity for the students, whose ideas for sustainability were incorporated into the project’s design.

Recently named Chace House in honor of a long time trustee, the dorm was designed with input from the Brooks Institute for Sustainability, a student summer program focused on reducing the school’s environmental impact. Chace House will incorporate a number of elements vital to reducing operating and maintenance costs, including a heating system with a natural gas-fired burner that is 97.5% efficient; a high-efficiency building envelope with superior insulation to prevent energy loss; individual room thermostats with an automated system that can be programmed remotely; energy management systems with occupancy sensors; a cupola that releases warm air on hot days; solar lighting tubes in hallways that create natural day lighting; low-flow water facilities (including composting toilets) to reduce sewage bills; and drought tolerant native exterior plantings and water-efficient landscaping.

The facility will also feature high efficiency double-paned windows, a zinc roof (which lasts 80-100 years and requires no maintenance), zinc and clapboard siding, and a combination of hardwood, carpet and vinyl-tile flooring materials making use of recycled products where possible. Extra-thick insulation and sound-proof walls will also be built into each room to reduce noise. In addition to the sustainable features, the project will also include a 600-square-foot common area big enough for all building residents to gather; an outdoor seating area for students to collaborate with dorm faculty; a rear patio for cookouts and gatherings; and a small lounge/study area for after-hours homework help. +

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