The Hartsbrook School in Northampton, Massachusetts is celebrating their newly constructed environmentally friendly early childhood building. Set on the Waldorf School Hadley campus, parents and staff set the vision for the project, calling for an environmentally sensitive building that would help maintain the good health of its inhabitants and the planet. Designed by architects Kraus and Fitch and built by Wright Builders, the edifice features sustainably sourced materials, natural wood elements built into the building’s cozy interior, and bright corridors that let little ones look out into the vast play yard that awaits them.
“It’s rewarding for our entire school community to see our students learning in and from these beautiful, green classrooms, especially knowing that we are now generating renewable power for the whole campus,” says Tupper Brown, alumni parent and Chairman of the Board.
The new building, which will serve up to 247 students, boasts natural ventilation in summer and heat recovery ventilation in the winter, recycled content insulation, no VOC paints and Vermont Natural Coatings whey-based finishes and the recent installation and activation of a 9.8-kW solar panel array. The array, installed will provide enough energy to power the new building, with some excess power for the other campus buildings. Other features include an air-tight building shell, diffuse natural light and dimmable, energy-efficient artificial lighting, and local materials used for porches and classroom floors.
This isn’t The Hartsbrook School’s first stint at encouraging environmental stewardship within their academic culture. The school also incorporates hands-on curriculum through the Land Stewardship Program. The premise behind the program is to provide students with farming and gardening experiences as foundational tools for establishing holistic values and competencies in nature, citizenship and earth care.
Images via Wright Builders