The new Center for Environmental Studies (CES) at Bishop O’Dowd high school in California is one of the greenest classrooms we’ve ever seen. Siegel & Strain Architects designed the building to support sustainability at every level while providing a flexible space for learning. It paid off – the classroom has achieved both Zero Net Energy and LEED Platinum certification.

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The new facility is located at Bishop O’Dowd, a college preparatory high school in the Oakland Hills in California. Its goal is to prepare students for careers in renewable energy, resource management and environmental engineering and inspire them to become innovators in tackling environmental challenges.

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Related: Sprout Space is an Award-Winning Prefab Modular Classroom by Perkins + Will

Passive design strategies minimize the building’s energy use. A deep overhang and low-emissivity dual glazing protect south-facing clerestory windows from unwanted solar gain, while a large porch wraps around the building and shades its west side.

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Related: Project FROG’s Zero Energy Modular Classrooms

Rainwater is collected in a series of large cisterns for use in toilets and irrigation, while low-flow water fixtures reduce the use of potable water by 60% over USGCB-estimated baseline water usage for a building of similar type and size. In order to create a healthy environment, the architects used natural, non-toxic, renewable, recycled and environmentally friendly building materials.

+ Bishop O’Dowd High School

+ Siegel & Strain Architects

Photos by David Wakely
Center for Environmental Studies (CES), Bishop O’Dowd high school, California, green classroom, green school, LEED Platinum, Zero Net Energy, Siegel & Strain Architects, green architecture, rainwater harvesting, natural materials, recycled materials, double glazing, solar gain

Center for Environmental Studies (CES), Bishop O’Dowd high school, California, green classroom, green school, LEED Platinum, Zero Net Energy, Siegel & Strain Architects, green architecture, rainwater harvesting, natural materials, recycled materials, double glazing, solar gain

Center for Environmental Studies (CES), Bishop O’Dowd high school, California, green classroom, green school, LEED Platinum, Zero Net Energy, Siegel & Strain Architects, green architecture, rainwater harvesting, natural materials, recycled materials, double glazing, solar gain