The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground – Sustainable Design

The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground, also known as P.S. 62, is the first net-zero-energy school in New York City and one of the first worldwide. The cutting-edge building harvests as much energy from renewable on-site sources as it uses on an annual basis.

Envisioned as a pilot project to explore sustainable design strategies for New York City public schools, P.S. 62 helps to achieve the city’s ambitious goals to reduce global warming emissions. SOM’s design offers an energy-use reduction of 50% over a standard New York City public school.

The school's many sustainable design features include photovoltaic arrays wrapping both the roof and south facade, a geo-exchange heating and cooling system, energy recovery ventilators and demand-control ventilation, and a solar thermal system for hot water. Horizontal deep-set clerestory and vision windows on the school's south facades shade the glass from solar heat gain. On the east, west, and north facades, precast concrete rainscreen panels form a very tight enclosure to help minimize air infiltration.

SOM optimized the building orientation to maximize the output of photovoltaic arrays on the roof and south facade. The school’s orientation and massing also create the optimal conditions for daylit interiors. All classrooms and learning spaces are placed on either the north or south side, to provide maximum access to natural light. Double-height, offset corridors with skylights and open stairs offer ample daylight and promote intuitive circulation throughout the building. All supplementary lighting fixtures have dimming and daylight harvesting capabilities.