HMFH Architects

Demystifying Net-Zero Energy Schools

In a recent event hosted by the Massachusetts School Building Authority, HMFH Principals Julia Nugent and Pip Lewis joined a panel of architects, engineers, school district representatives and sustainability experts to discuss the future of net-zero design and construction for Massachusetts public school projects and address common questions and misconceptions about the process.

With the opening of HMFH’s new net-positive energy Fales Elementary School just a few months away, Principal and Project Director Julia Nugent shared her experience navigating the financial and political challenges of tackling ambitious energy goals within a public school project, and provided practical steps to make net-zero and net-positive achievable project goals. As the first net-positive energy public school in Massachusetts, Fales Elementary sets an important precedent for the Massachusetts design community of what can be achieved through early, deliberate goal setting and close collaboration among designers, consultants and municipalities.

HMFH Principal Pip Lewis brought a different area of expertise to the panel and presented on best practices for designing energy efficient buildings in a dense, urban area while balancing the need for innovative green technologies with the reality of the value engineering process. Using his experiences directing the design of the new Josiah Quincy Upper School, which will break ground this summer, Pip outlined creative ways to lower a building’s carbon footprint while maintaining a realistic budget.

For further insight and practical actions for achieving net-zero buildings check out Julia’s recent article in School Business Affairs Magazine here.