When the Manteca Unified School District (MUSD) in California's Central Valley wanted to build an environmental education community center, they made sure the building itself was a teaching tool for sustainability. The District turned to Manteca’s American Modular Systems to design and build a Gen7 Zero Net Energy facility called the Regional Environmental Studies Center (RESC) that gives Central Valley students and residents free and open access to environmental education and resources. The state-of-the-art building uses roof-mounted 10kW PV panels, combined with energy-saving systems and technology, to produce enough electricity onsite to cover the center’s annual usage. The building's sustainable features were designed to integrate with MUSD's educational mission -- to teach students and visitors about the project's many green features and materials.
The design aesthetic blends sustainability and energy goals, providing a custom look and feel with recycled, low-emitting materials, FSC-certified woods, natural ventilation and extensive daylighting.
To maximize energy efficiency and load reduction, energy models were used to optimize the building’s orientation, window placement and PV system positioning and tilt.
Inside, the light, airy flex-space is modern and fully automated, comfortably fitting a range of needs, from small student workgroups to large community presentations.
People can even monitor the center's energy consumption and production with an interactive iPad.
Every aspect of the state-of-the-art building, from the 10kW roof-mounted solar array to individual receptacle loads, is connected through the Gen7 web-based energy monitoring system. This platform allows MUSD to track energy consumption at a very precise level and manage it in real-time to achieve optimal performance. In just one year, the RESC has reduced peak power demand by more than 50 percent and produced more energy than it needs to operate.
The customized exterior features 150-year-old reclaimed oak barnwood siding, with a detached butterfly cool roof that was installed onsite.