Information provided by North Shore Country Day School.
When North Shore Country Day School renovated its Upper School in Winnetka, the goal was to set a new standard for 21st century schooldesign. The building had to be flexible and adaptable, as well as a healthy, comfortable learning environment, and serve as a teaching tool for environmental stewardship.
The result is a modern, 40,000-square-foot, environmentally responsible building serving more than 200 students that is reducing the school’s energy consumption and recently received LEED certification.
North Shore’s success was a result of involving not just architects and engineers, but also teachers, maintenance staff, and others from the very beginning. Making sure that everyone was committed to achieving LEED goals helped the project team build a school building that met NorthShore’s goals.
Studies show that natural light improves students’ reading and math scores, so the team focused on day light strategies such as placing windows on multiple sides of classrooms and reusing the existing large windows to bring light into interior spaces. Indoor air quality was also a primary concern. The building features operable windows to let in fresh air, carbon dioxide sensors, and paints and furnishings with low volatile organic compounds.
North Shore is more energy efficient than comparable buildings because of innovative measures including lighting occupancy sensors, connecting HVAC coils to occupancy, and use of daylight. Water conservation is another key design element. Low-flow faucets and toilets were installed, and rain gardens surround the building, in addition to green roofs on the north and east sides.
Fuel and transportation costs were reduced by using regionally manufactured materials whenever possible. Priority was given to products with high-recycled content. The building roof is made from a highly recyclable material that has a life span of 50 years. And, nearly 90 percent of the construction was diverted from landfills through recycling.