Connecticut Education

ARC Designs High-Energy-Performing Middle School

Greenwich Country Day School / rendering by Dongik Lee

Greenwich, CT – ARC/ Architectural Resources Cambridge of Boston has designed a new middle school building on the Greenwich Country Day School campus which balances ultra-low energy consumption with solar energy production to achieve a nearly net-zero facility. Building on Greenwich Country Day School’s longstanding commitment to sustainability, the design team partnered with this coeducational school for students in nursery through ninth grade to achieve significant energy efficiency by combining a series of high-performance materials, methods, and systems with power production.

A whole-roof solar array with more than 13,000sf of panels will supply more than 100% of the new middle school’s energy needs. In addition, an advanced insulated concrete form (ICF) building envelope, together with high-efficiency mechanical systems, will significantly lower the operating cost of the school. When the middle school opens in the fall of 2018, the building’s predicted Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 28.6 kBtu psf per year will be approximately half that of a typical K-12 school.

The new two-story school will include 19 classrooms and specialty learning spaces arranged along two wings. The classroom wings are linked by an open and active central spine housing the library, media center, and the middle school’s primary gathering space. Connected to the 40,000sf new construction, portions of the existing middle school building, an adapted 19thcentury Dutch Colonial house, will be preserved and restored as administrative space.


“The new middle school building is designed to offer a flexible, interactive learning environment for students and teachers, and to support an integrated curriculum that includes the arts, technology, science, and humanities,” said Jan Taylor, ARC’s project manager. “In addition to fulfilling its educational mission, the new middle school will demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to environmental stewardship and energy conservation.”

“The finished design reflects GCDS’ emphasis on both tradition and innovation,” said Laura di Bonaventura, director of sustainability. “It feels like home and reflects our values while being a learning laboratory of sustainability features such as the building’s envelope, LED light and plug load management, renewable power system, window technology, and HVAC systems.”