When the New York State Legislature established The School Construction Authority in 1988 to build and manage the design, construction, and renovation of new projects in New York City’s more than 1,200 public school buildings, they couldn’t have predicted SOM’s innovative design for P.S.62 in Staten Island.
Slated for a fall completion date, it will be the first net-zero energy school in New York City and the Northeastern United States—and one of the first of its kind worldwide. The same amount of energy it uses on a yearly basis will be harvested from renewable on-site resources as it serves 444 students, ranging from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade.
The school complies with The SCA’s Green Schools Guide in lieu of LEED; as SOM managing director and project manager on the project Christopher McCready says, “We had no choice, it’s what the SCA follows instead of LEED.” It will serve as the SCA’s first “sustainability lab” and will offer an energy-use reduction of 50% over an SCA standard public school.
The new design of the courtyard-shaped building provides both ample sunlight and photovoltaic arrays on the roof and south façade. It also boasts an ultra-tight high-performance building envelope, daylit offset-corridors, low-energy kitchen equipment, a greenhouse and vegetable garden, energy-efficient lighting fixtures, a geo-exchange system, energy recovery ventilators and demand-control ventilation, and a solar thermal system for hot water. Ample outdoor spaces such as a running track and playground will accompany clean and crisp hallways and classrooms, punctuated by bright and welcoming primary colors, according to SOM renderings.
Luckily for students, teachers, and people worldwide, McCready believes P.S.62 will be far from the last of its kind. “We’re already seeing more net-zero energy schools on the boards,” he says. “This is definitely a trend in the K-12 and higher-education worlds.”