The Friends School of Portland, Maine was recently opened on the principle of teaching young minds from K-8th grade that combating climate change is as important as an education. Built by Kaplan Thompson Architects on 25 acres of lush wooded land, the new school is completely energy sufficient, producing energy needs with photovoltaic panels along the roof. The ambitious design has been awarded the 3rd Passive House-Certified School in the country, with an impressive 90% reduction in energy use.
The Friends School was designed to accentuate the gorgeous landscape and connect students to the outdoors in its vibrant island location in Maine. By eliminating fossil fuels, children will learn about the importance of sustainability and renewable energy at a young age.
The energy passive building generates enough energy for the entire student body with a combination of a span of solar panels on the school’s roof, and energy efficient systems within. The solar panels drive the all-electric building, allowing all systems to be powered with 40kW of clean energy.
Classrooms were designed to rely heavily on natural light to cut down on costs. Local timber can be found within the interior of the school to add to the bright and airy atmosphere. Much of this wood used was harvested from the site that the school itself was built on. An outdoor amphitheater, wooded bridge connecting a grassy play area, and connection to a local stream make students appreciate the land the school sits on.
With the school’s photovoltaic panels and energy efficient mechanisms, the Friends School of Portland operates on 90% less energy than a new school would.