Integrated School Building Technologies for High Performance Schools

Cesar Chavez Education Center, Oakland, California

Cesar Chavez Education Complex is a 95,000 square foot community elementary school located in downtown Oakland. The school opened January, 2004 and houses 600 Kindergarten through fifth grade students. Within the facility are two small elementary schools with shared multi-use facilities and open space. These shared facilities include a playground, library, computer lab, administration, gymnasium and multipurpose/cafeteria. The site also houses a 72 student child development center.

The design of this school is expected to exceed California�s Building Energy Efficiency Standards, T-24, 2001, by 25%. This school is located in California�s climate zone 3 and the energy efficiency was achieved through the use of daylighting, and minimizing mechanical cooling.

Lighting/Daylighting Features

Early in the design phase, it was a priority to maximize daylighting. Usually, maximized daylighting is achieved by optimal building orientation. However, this site lies in a dense urban area and there were not many options for site orientation. The site lies on a northeast-southwest axis. An angled shape was used to provide bays for windows in each classroom. The result is a building that has a scissor shape to it and a lighting power density of .7 watts per square foot. The design team used the Heliodon located at the Pacific Gas and Electric�s Pacific Energy Center, to model and make improvements to the design. The goal was to provide diffuse daylight with no glare or solar heat gain. A critical element in the design was to have ceilings that are at least 10 feet in height. The south facing classroom windows utilize clerestories and lower view windows. Exterior baffles were placed on the south facing windows and horizontal louvers were placed inside the windows to minimize direct glare and mask reflection in the classroom. It is estimated that this design can save the school as much as 70% of the lighting energy needs on the second floor and 50% of the lighting energy needs on the first floor classrooms.

Another challenge of the dense urban site was trying to accommodate the square footage needs of the school. The result is a two story lay out. The architect was still able to maximize daylighting with this two story configuration. Second story classrooms and hallways benefit from having skylights. The Kalwall insulating skylights are strategically placed to bring daylight down into the first floor through lightwells. Daylight sensors are installed in the second story classrooms which decrease electrical lighting when there is sufficient daylight.

The electrical lighting in the classroom consists of three rows of fluorescent fixtures. These are high efficiency fixtures with second generation T8 lamps and ballasts. There are two lamps and two ballasts per fixture. This allows for one lamp to be on and the other off in each fixture. Occupancy sensors also control lighting throughout the school.

Natural Ventilation

Each classroom has a fan coiled unit-ventilator. This unit provides heating and natural ventilation. Also, all classroom windows open to the outside. In addition, roof top exhaust fans draw air into the classroom from the open windows and the fan coiled unit exhausts air via roof top vents. It is estimated that 88% of the time the classrooms are occupied, the temperatures will range from 71�F to 75�F. The result of this design is that only 40% of the total floor area of the school is air-conditioned. Air conditioning is provided only in the gymnasium, library, computer lab, and multipurpose building. Single zone, constant volume packaged roof top units are used. The exhaust air is moved through a heat exchanger so that during heating mode, the natural ventilation is heated when necessary before it enters the classroom. The classroom unit ventilators also utilize heat recovery to preheat the incoming ventilated air when needed.

A central boiler provides heat to the fan coiled unit ventilators in the classroom. The building insulation components include a wood frame with R-13 wall insulation. The roof is metal deck with R-30 insulation

Other High Performance Features

  • Artificial turf play field � reduces maintenance, mowing, watering and chemical needs
  • light colored linoleum flooring - the light color helps to reflect light to maximize daylighting
  • Medite II composite wood cabinets
  • Recycled glass tiles in restrooms
  • Tackable wall boards made of cork
  • Shelving panels in library made from biocomposite fiberboard
  • The concrete used in structural work contains a high fly-ash content
  • The gymnasium wainscoting is made from Forest Certified Wood