High Design for LEED Gold School


Some of the students of tomorrow will have the opportunity to learn in incredible, well-designed buildings.  Take for instance this $28 million building designed by Ross Barney Architects with the assistance of The Sheward Partnership.  Commodore John Barry Elementary School was designed to LEED Silver certification but ended up obtaining LEED Gold (at no extra cost to the School District of Philadelphia).  The District has obtained certification for two other schools and committed to build all future schools to LEED Silver certification.  Four such schools are on the boards right now. 


John Barry Elementary includes 100,000 square feet of space and 46 classrooms that can serve approximately 646 students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade.  The school uses less water and energy than typical schools and has an abundance of natural light and outdoor views.  Here are some of its other green features:

  • 40% reduction in water over baseline;
  • 31.5% reduction in energy over baseline;
  • 95% of occupied spaces have daylighting;
  • 90% of occupied spaces have outdoor views;
  • 75%+ of construction waste diverted from landfills;
  • 20% of materials from recycled sources;
  • 10% of materials from local and regional sources;
  • Eliminated need for permanent landscape irrigation;
  • Rainwater is used for water closets and urinals;
  • Lighting controls used to enhance daylighting; and
  • Used low-flow fixtures and energy-efficient equipment. 

To preserve the outdoor play area and green space, John Barry Elementary was built on a tight footprint of 25,500 square feet — preserving about 40% of the site as open space.  The building's lead architect, Ross Barney Architects, also designed the LEED Platinum Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, which was recognized this month as an AIA COTE 2009 Top Ten Green Project





Photo credits: Ross Barney Architects.

  • http://mportlandrealestate.com Portland Real Estate

    What a gorgeous school. A school district I used to work for had just completed a nice elementary school when I left. The new building was not nearly as beautiful as this, but I loved that it used recycled materials and had the best daylighting of any school I have ever seen.

    • http://www.jetsongreen.com Preston

      This is a fantastic school and am happy for these kids. A little jealous, too. Imagine going to school in a bright, stylish building like this — could be the kind of thing that gets students to think about the built environment and design.

  • Cleo

    wow… my school was definitely nothing like this! we work with an architect who also designed a really amazing green middle school in NJ(mygreenpalette.com/projects/detail/101)

  • Anonymous

    When I see that lunch room wrapped in glass, the only thing I can think is, “That’s going to require quite a bit of energy to heat and cool.” Even the best glazing isn’t even close to a well insulated wall assembly.

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