What if a school could be designed and built to produce as much energy as it consumes from the electric grid? What if there was little or no need for electricity for use of air-conditioning, lighting or power? Limited gas bill for heating, hot water, or cooking food and no water bill for ground irrigation?
These were the questions the Irving Independent School District dared to ask when it began planning the district’s eighth middle school. What emerged was the 152,000-square-foot Lady Bird Johnson Middle School in Irving, Texas. Completed in August 2011 at a cost of nearly $30 million, the 900-pupil educational facility has the distinction of being the largest net zero public school in the country, the first net zero middle school in the country and the first net zero public school in Texas.
By definition as a net zero building, Lady Bird Johnson MS produces more energy than it consumes over a 12-month period. Several technologies and strategies were employed to reduce its consumption including geothermal heating, solar panel technology, wind turbines, rain water harvesting techniques and smart solar management. Fabral flashing, wall and trim products played a key role in this last aspect. Through roofing, wall panels and a system of sun shades and light shelves, architectural firm Corgan Associates applied more than 72,000 square feet of Fabral products to add functional and sustainable benefits to the building.
“Lady Bird Johnson MS is the first net zero school is the country and is pursuing LEED gold certification,” said Sangeetha Karthik, AIA, LEED AP BD + C, Corgan Associates, project lead architect. “The general message of the school is to reduce, reuse, recycle and educate future generations to become stewards of the environment. We made conscious choices to support the overall message of the building while keeping the economics and use of the building in perspective.”
Aside from the extensive use of Fabral wall panels on the overall exterior of the school, one of the most prominent features of the facility is a large canopy that stands on two sides of the building. Covered in Fabral manufactured metal cladding, the canopy towers over the west side classroom windows and wraps around the building to shade the south facing library windows. This structure blocks the hot Texas summer sun from passing through classroom and other windows while still allowing natural lighting. In the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, the rays pass directly through the windows, providing warmth and heat to the building. The width of the canopy was determined by analyzing the sun angles during the times and months when students are in their classrooms.
“Fabral metal systems create an opportunity to design with a recyclable and renewable natural material,” said Matthew Nicholson, Corgan Associates, designer/architectural staff. “The metal’s reflective quality allows the building to stay cooler while giving a nod to the building’s main energy provider – the sun.”
On the building itself, high-efficiency glazing and the increased insulation from Fabral flashing and trim help the building to stay tightly insulated from outside elements. All products were specified in Bright Silver, a finish strategically chosen for its light color and reflective properties which help reduce heat absorption, enhancing the building’s overall energy efficiency.
In addition to Corgan Associates, other firms involved in the project included Image Engineering Group LLC (engineer); Charter Builders, a Balfour Beatty Company (builder); Paragon Roofing Inc. (roofing installer); Roofing Supply Group (distributor).
FABRAL PRODUCTS USED
Wall Application: V-Beam 18 ga. and 22 ga. Bright Silver, 19,000 square feet
Soffit Application: Select Series 12-R-2 24 ga. Bright Silver, 17,100 square feet
Roof Application: Thin Seam 18" 24 ga. Bright Silver, 2,000 square feet
Flashings, Coping, Fascia and Column Covers: Brake metal 24 ga. Bright Silver, 34,000 square feet