WESTON, Mass. — The new 21,000-square-foot addition to the Cambridge School of Weston campus is designed to significantly reduce its impact on the environment through several water- and energy-saving features and sustainable elements.
The new Garthwaite Center for Science and Arts will provide educational program space for the boarding school's 320 9th-12th graders and is expected to use 60 percent less water than conventionally designed school buildings and only 10 gallons of water a day.
Designed by Architerra Inc., of Boston, the educational facility is positioned to maximize passive solar heating and daylighting. A combination of triple-glazed fiberglass windows, deep roof overhangs and a high-performance building envelope help reduce heat loss and unwanted solar gains. A living green roof also helps insulate the building in cold weather and keep it cool during the summer.
An energy-efficient HVAC system complements the passive solar design with in-floor radiant heat, a wood pellet boiler that burns waste wood fiber and an enthalpy heat recovery wheel designed to capture 87 percent of exhausted heat.
Inside the building, an integrated system of composting toilets, waterless urinals and low-flow faucets with electronic sensors are expected to lower water consumption to 10 gallons per day. Outside, a storm-water management system collects runoff from the building's green roof and other surfaces in a series of underground chambers designed to slowly return rainwater to the aquifer.
The facility also features wood flooring certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. A re-used blasted ledge is used around the side to create stairs and retaining walls.
Situated on the school's main campus quadrangle, the building will play a central role in the students' curriculum. Science laboratories, classrooms and community galleries will be housed in the new center, as well as administrative and faculty offices.
Built by Consigli Construction, of Milford, Mass., the facility features an exposed design to educate students, teachers and staff about building operations. Exposed timber framing, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sprinkler equipment serve as a teaching tool for students and staff about traditionally hidden building systems and sustainable design.
An open, two-story science atrium offers views of indoor plantings and gallery space to present projects and artwork.