"Don't Give Us Green Design Icing, Give Us the Cake"
So said the Toronto School Board to Baird Sampson Neuert architects. Says Associate Seth Atkins- "They said, we don't want things that read as green design but don't have a big effect. We want less green roof and more in terms of high-efficiency boilers, heat recovery, and high-performance glazing." The school is built to last 75 years, and the architects considered durability and longevity of systems to be critical to sustainability, so there is no acoustic tile or vinyl floors.
The building has large windows in classrooms that face south to "harvest sunlight" for passive solar gain using the thermal mass of the floors. The windows are recessed to get natural shading in the summer when the sun is higher in the sky.
The Mechanical system is interesting; we quote Greensource Magazine: "ventilation air is supplied to rooms at floor level near the corridors. The air moves slowly across the floor and up along the windows to grilles in the ceiling. Then, instead of passing through ductwork above a dropped ceiling, the air moves directly through the hollow-core precast concrete slabs to ducts in the corridors. As it moves through the slabs, the return air picks up heat. In the summer that heat is expelled, and in the winter it is captured for reuse." ::Greensource Magazine