LEED Designed Building

A Learning Tool in the 21st Century

The design process from its inception in 2004, intended for the new physical plant at 342 Central to be, in itself, a “learning tool for all the academic disciplines.” Its features are intended not only to create a vibrant and rich physical space that is conducive to all the sensitivities that create powerful learning environments, but also to create opportunities to use domains within the physical plant as teaching instruments themselves. LEED certification was a goal, but the building also had to be a “teacher”. Exposed ductwork, public display of energy monitoring, no rectangular spaces, open gauges, real-time computer imaging of our entire mechanical system were all employed to engage students and to build curriculum.

The physical structure was a chocolate factory built in 1920. Preserving the building and its place in Newark's history were paramount in the design of the new facility. The terracotta lions on the exterior were produced locally, and can only be found in Newark, Paterson, and Trenton. The integrity and identity of the original building was maintained as much as possible. Existing bricks were repointed and cleaned, bricks from demolition of the loading dock and outbuildings were reused, and the façade was meticulously restored. All interior timber structure and individual timber columns remained in place. Seventy percent of all building materials were recycled materials. All the new materials were selected from sites within 500 miles of Philip’s Academy.

Interior spaces were created with students and teachers in mind. Classrooms are spacious and vibrantly colored learning spaces with a maximum of natural light. We wanted to provide comfortable spaces with clean, easy breathing, with the right level and type of light. All adhesives, sealants, paints, carpet, and composite wood in furniture was chosen for their low emitting vapors. We wanted the occupants to have controllability—the ability open and close windows, adjust the temperature, and the lighting.

We created the maximum amount of insulation on the envelope of the building, and developed a low-impact mechanical system, with a series of rooftop units (heating, cooling and distributing). By installing the Trox system for air distribution in the classrooms, we limited the number of fans, thereby reducing the amount of energy required. Trox units contain no fans.

The gymnasium uses radiant floor heating, and has its own rooftop unit separate from the rest of the building, using jets to drive air to the ground.

Our Building Management computer system tracks the effectiveness of all of the equipment throughout the entire campus.

The water systems are low-flow, with aerated faucets and toilets. The planted area in the center of the parking lot is a drainage bed, which filters water before it goes into the city water system.

Selected Sustainable Features

  • Green roof over gymnasium reflective energy-efficient roof on existing facility
  • Reduce water usage by 20% with low-flow toilets, urinals, showerheads, faucets, kitchen equipment
  • Energy-efficient building mechanical systems that operate at least 20% above baseline standards
  • Recycling of more than 50% of construction waste
  • 25% of building materials with at least 20% postconsumer recycled content
  • Meeting or exceeding state indoor air-quality standards
  • Daylight in 90% of learning spaces
  • Low emitting vapors from adhesives, sealants, paints, carpet, and composite wood

Philip’s Academy Charter School’s physical building offers a unique opportunity for hands-on education about the environment and sustainable living. As the only New Jersey urban school built to conform to LEED specifications (and the first building in Newark), we offer our students cleaner air, brighter classrooms, and a rooftop garden. Philip’s Academy nurtures our students, helps the community, and reaches a higher standard of excellence

The HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) system at Philip’s Academy was designed for a Silver LEED Certified Building. It is an extremely energy efficient design which uses TROX low-air flow units in all of the classrooms. When students put their hands at the bottom of the units where the air comes out, they can barely feel the air flow. But it is flowing at a constant rate and uses induction to ventilate the rooms. The system is controlled by a sophisticated BMS (building management system) that allows us to control the times when it is operating and the temperatures throughout the building. It also controls the lighting in the building. We can program it to shut down HVAC and lighting on holidays and only operate during limited hours on weekends. The system is also designed to take into account the effects of the sun as it moves aroud the building during the day. The temperature of the cooling and heating water that flows through he TROX units has four zones corresponding to the four sides of the building. Variable speed units with reheat coils control the interior spaces. They can sense whether a room is occupied or not and adjust airflow accordingly.

Philip's Academy Charter School

342 Central Avenue
Newark, NJ 07103
973-624-0644 (tel) | 973-624-0102 (fax)

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