At the heart of Bainbridge Island, WA’s new Wilkes Elementary School design is the belief that a beautiful, well-appointed building promotes better learning. As with all of its schools, the district was looking to achieve just the right balance of comfort and economy. They chose systems based on life-cycle costing, including a central ground source heat pump, to supply most of the school’s heating and cooling needs. The system, which relies on a borefield with 45 wells drilled 300ft deep, supports hot water radiant floors in all of the classrooms to maximise comfort.
The building’s narrow footprint was developed by the design team in part to allow automated operable windows to take advantage of natural ventilation and daylighting opportunities. Lighting controls were installed which respond to available daylight and minimise electric lighting energy consumption. All of these measures combine to give the building an EUI (energy use intensity) of 35. A more traditional elementary school project in a similar climate would be expected to have an EUI of 45.
This project received a 2014 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Washington Council Merit award and a 2014 Award of Excellence by the AIA National Committee on Architecture for Education.