Today the International Living Building Institute announced that the Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, on the big island of Hawaii, has been certified under the Living Building Challenge (version 1.3). Completed a little over a year ago, the 6,000 sq ft sustainable learning center had to undergo a year of operation in order to meet the imperatives of the rigorous green building certification program. The Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy is now only the fourth building in the world to receive the certification, possibly making it one of the world's greenest schools.
Designed by Boston-based Flansburgh Architects, the Energy Lab provides both indoor and outdoor classrooms to educate students on sustainability, renewable energy, the environment and more. It includes computer labs, conference areas, project rooms and a workshop where students can track and manage the systems which run the building. Solar panels on the roof and a wind turbine on a nearby hill generate more than enough power for the lab, and the building collects rainwater and uses an innovative radiant cooling system.
In December of 2010, the building was awarded with a LEED Platinum certification and today it was also awarded certification under the Living Building Challenge (1.3), which means that the building generates all of its own energy from renewable resources, captures and treats its own water through ecologically sound techniques, incorporates only nontoxic, appropriately sourced materials and operates efficiently for maximum beauty.
Energy Lab Director, Dr. Bill Wiecking commented, “What makes the Living Building Challenge so powerful, and so perfect for schools, is that the students have to participate in it fully if they want certification. It brings out their playful and competitive spirit. Now they’re so invested in it, they understand everything about how the building functions, and they’re the first ones to notice if we’re using too much energy or wasting water. Our kids want to lead; they love rising to a challenge. This project has made them sustainability leaders in their homes and in our community. We hope that this is the first of countless schools worldwide to adopt the Living Building Challenge.”
Images ©HPA and Flansburgh Architects