The online version of today's New York Times includes on its 'Green Inc.' blog a post by Libby Tucker about a prototype classroom at DaVinci Arts Middle School that may indicate a future design path as Portland and the nation renovate and retrofit schools sustainably over the coming decades.
The prototype green classroom addition, which is under construction at Da Vinci, utilizes natural daylighting, passive heating and cooling systems, solar roof tiles and other features that achieve energy efficiency 70 percent over Oregon building code requirements. The 1,500-square foot music classroom, designed by SRG Partnership with the University of Oregon’s Energy Studies in Buildings Lab, is set to earn a LEED-platinum rating and net-zero energy use.
The space can be amply lit with daylight year-round and even in the grayest overcast conditions thanks to what's called “the halo,” a kind of high-tech chandelier conceived by G.Z. "Charlie" Brown that distributes natural light even throughout the space from a large central skylight. It's so effective that there’s no need to flip on a switch at all during the school day.