Chartwell School Unveils Sustainably-Built Prefab Classrooms

by , 09/24/09


Toby Long, principal architect of CleverHomes and tobylongdesign, recently led the effort to produce one of the first CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) certified relocatable classrooms in the United States. Working with the Chartwell School, Long and his San Francisco-based design/build/prefab company designed, prefabricated, and installed two green portable classroom structures, which were completed this summer in four weeks flat.


Constructed as part of The New High School Project at Chartwell, the buildings were designed to serve Chartwell’s immediate need for classrooms while being flexible to suit the school’s future growth. If necessary the prefab structures can be easily retrofitted to serve as residences on campus.

Measuring 960-square-feet each, the units were designed to complement the existing campus, but also provide a hint of distinction between the school’s older and newer spaces. The buildings feature eco-friendly materials and finishes similar to those used in the design and construction of the LEED Platinum Chartwell Campus.

The new buildings incorporate a variety of leading-edge environmental systems and specifications. They feature over 300 square feet of glazing as well as Anderson composite windows, operable clerestory windows and skylights that provide natural light and ventilation throughout the interior spaces. The prefab buildings also feature FSC-certified lumber, radiant floor heating systems, high-recycled content gypsum board, no-formaldehyde insulation, and no-VOC paints and coatings. The structures also showcase some impressive technology – each unit is hooked up to the main campus’ photovoltaic system, ventilation systems are connected to carbon dioxide sensors, and the interiors feature daylight and occupant sensing lighting systems for fluorescent lights.

+ Toby Long Design

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  1. jay123 December 1, 2009 at 6:15 am

    Hey this is great one thing though high light the pictures one of them looks like a swimming pool nice one !

  2. Couristmark September 25, 2009 at 5:03 am

    hy i like this house design and i think the designer given best. my friend designer in tata company and i am seeing more house design in his i see your design i am really exited thanks

    Acai Force Max

  3. patis1km September 24, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    In recent years, I have found modular and portable school systems more often in nearby communities. The inclusion of even one of these green buildings would be a boon to many struggling and (frankly) eco-friendless school districts. In the surrounding area, there are at least two schools that consist of modular units (or “portables”). These particular portables are in desperate need of updating and repair; hopefully, this is a niche that CleverHomes can fill.

    In Michigan, for example, Clare Pioneer High School (which serves as an alternative and adult education facility) needs several new portables after the district discovered structural and safety problems associated with the buildings. Mold, damage from the elements and construction limitations have forced the students and staff to continue the school year in run-down portables instead of fresh, new ones.

    One issue that such a school would have with the potential green alternative is cost. How much would an entirely new facility set the district back? Hypothetically, let’s say that (4) 960-sq ft units would be sufficient to house everyone attending Pioneer High School; how much would such a venture be? Would portables built by CleverHomes or a similar company be afforded tax incentives and government support for being greener?

    While there are many school districts in the United States that could benefit from newer portable classrooms, some NEED new facilities in order to survive. Hopefully, after the potentially high cost and any “bugs” are reduced, schools like Pioneer High School can thrive in a green way. In America, we need more businesses and designers like Toby Long to develop an environmentally-friendly, efficient environment for students to learn in. For one thing, if Clare Township was able to acquire even one of these innovative portables, it would illustrate that CleverHomes is (quite literally) pioneering new areas of public education.

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