It's no secret that Staten Islanders have been going through very troubling times, but last week we saw a small bright spot of news for the borough's PS 62. The New York City Department of Education recently broke ground on the building that will house the state's first net zero energy school right in Richmond, Staten Island. PS 62 was designed by SOM and will be covered in solar panels to generate enough power for the building. Additionally, the school will feature other sustainable programs to reduce environmental impact, work towards greater self-sufficiency and provide a higher level of education for students. The school is expected to open around 2015, and a spokesperson for SOM told us this week that the construction site was not impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
PS 62 will be located on a 3.5-acre site at the intersection of Crabtree Avenue and Bloomingdale Road in Richmond, Staten Island. The school will serve 444 primary age students and is expected to be complete and ready for use by fall 2015. Designed by SOM with the help of a number of consultants, in particular In:Posse and AKF, PS 62 will be completely net zero and rely solely on itself for its own energy. The building will feature photovoltaics and solar thermal systems on the roof and southern facades. The classrooms and hallways will be lit mostly with daylighting through carefully placed windows, skylights and clerestory windows. Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment and a tight thermal envelope will minimize energy use. The school will also feature a green roof, vegetable garden, classroom dashboard monitors, and a walking track around the building.
Bruce Barrett, Vice President of Architecture & Engineering and others at the SCA have described their intentions for this project as follows: “Using this unique project as a vehicle, the SCA will explore new and higher levels of sustainability by embarking on the construction of a Net Zero Energy School Building. Recognizing Mayor Bloomberg’s and New York City’s commitment to sustainability in general, and to energy conservation specifically, we have challenged ourselves to go beyond building code and design standards to realize innovative energy and carbon reductions exceeding our current achievements. We want to push the envelope on this advanced green project, which will be our ‘sustainability lab.’ It is understood that not all of the lessons learned from this exercise will be applicable on a broad scale, however this exploration into ultimate sustainability and the subsequent evaluation of our exercise will provide benefits to our School Design Program that would otherwise not be realized.”
The groundbreaking ceremony for the school was held on Friday, October 26th and was attended by New York City Department of Education Schools Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm, Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro, City Council Member Vincent Ignizio and senior officials from the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) including President & CEO Lorraine Grillo.