Your Green Life: "Lincoln Park Middle School"

By KBJR News 1

August 17, 2012 Updated Aug 17, 2012 at 6:49 AM CDT

Duluth, MN
In Lincoln Park there's a new facility that was designed not only for education but also for the environment.

"One of the first items we do when we design a building is we try and get it in line with solar orientation, what we call it, which is an east-west axis. So we can generate as much north daylight as we can and as much southern daylight as we can." Said Kevin Holm, the Project Principal.

Heating and lighting a large facility is the most energy consuming aspect. That's why this building was constructed with sustainable architecture to reduce energy usage.

Holm said, "So as it gets brighter outside, the more we are able to capture the exterior daylight, the light bulbs will automatically dim, or reduce energy use and keep the light levels at a constant with in the class room."

And as the school day ends and kids head out, the lights automatically shut off, but motion activated sensors will brighten the halls for any lingering students or faculty. How to efficiently heat the building during our cold winter months was also taken into consideration.

"We heat the building with perimeter radiation and we have a high thermal mass in the building, so we can deal with temperature swings outside a lot easier without fluctuating the boiler to a great degree." says Holm.

The high thermal mass of the building allows it to hold its heat during the night hours, so less heat is needed to warm it back up in the morning. Everything down to the ventilation was considered. Why pump out air you already heated, when you can reuse it?!?!

Holm tells me, "All our ventilation units have energy recovery on them. They are about 75-80% efficient in capturing both the heat and humidity or moisture content that you're trying to keep within the building in the wintertime."

From meticulously placed tinted windows, to sun blocks shading the rooms from direct light. this 21st century school could teach us all something about reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch