Adams Elementary School's energy efficient design

FORT WORTH, Texas - May 14, 2014 -Population shifts and enrollment increases in the area created the need for VLK Architects to provide the Arlington Independent School District with a highly innovative elementary school campus. Completed in 2013, James and Barbara Adams Elementary School has a capacity for 900 students and, one year later, is well known for providing the District with one of its most energy-efficient campuses.

Adams Elementary is a new design for the District, a departure from their previous prototype that had been repeated 13 times. The District wanted the design to provide more innovative environments for their students'a design VLK fulfilled along with the best return on investment.

'Our facilities department created a design guideline based on the items we felt were the most significant for consideration in regard to student and staff comfort, as well as energy efficiency,' stated Jennifer DuPlessis, director, maintenance and operations, Arlington ISD.

Some of the design elements that accomplished those goals were integrating collaboration areas with enhanced technology that maximize space in the school for learning opportunities in a wide array of programs and curriculums; elevating best practices for design and construction that brought the cost of the facility under state averages for elementary schools; and employing systems that allow Arlington ISD to effectively operate and maintain one of their most efficient schools.

Several of the high performance design features relate specifically to energy efficiency, in particular the energy performance, energy management and lighting controls.

High performance design features include:

  • Reduced building footprint
  • Reduced heat islands through landscaping and light colored concrete paving
  • Storm water runoff treatment ' storm water filtered through grass areas
  • Energy management control system
  • Enhanced air filtration
  • Recycled content and low VOC emitting materials
  • Natural daylighting and view windows in classrooms
  • Improved acoustical performance in classrooms
  • Vacancy sensors in all areas to control lighting and save energy

'The outcome was such that the occupants have more control over their thermal comfort than ever before, we have better indoor air quality, and the energy usage is half of some of our highest energy-consuming elementary schools,' said DuPlessis.

The school met the criteria for the TX-CHPS's (Texas Collaborative for High Performance Schools) reduced building footprint initiative. Adams Elementary has seen a reduced building footprint in its first year.

'It was exciting to work on a project in which the final product was everything we truly needed to provide the best learning environment we could,' added DuPlessis. 'Adams Elementary School is a great example of working with our design professionals to ensure our most critical facility needs are considered, discussed and determined prior to the beginning of design.'

About VLK Architects:With offices in Houston and Fort Worth, Texas, VLK Architects provides architecture, planning and interior design services to K-12, higher education, corporate and institutional clients throughout Texas. For more information useVLK's Contact form.