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Lakeline Learning Center

Building Details

Building NameLakeline Learning Center Construction / refurbishment date13/05/2014 Building Size638.6 sqm
Building Typeacademic Address 13635 Rutledge Spur Austin Texas 78729 United States Region americas

Performance Details

Net Zero Operational Carbon

Buildings or developments that display best practice outcomes in energy efficiency, are powered by renewable energy, and as such have been verified and certified as "net zero energy and/or carbon" projects.

Qualification criteria: ILFI Zero Energy Certificate level: Zero Energy Net EUI: 135.6 kWh/m2/yr Net RPI: 136 kWh/m2/yr Net Offset Ren Energy Src: Net Offset Details: Net Verification Year: 2018

Additional Details

The Lakeline Learning Center set a new precedent for Foundation Communities, as a model for outstanding design, collaboration, and innovation. Foundation Communities’ mission is to provide housing where families can succeed. There is a clear alignment between this mission and sustainable buildings.

– Energy and water efficiency help to lower utility bills, allowing residents to spend more on other essentials such as food, healthcare, and education.

– Healthy building materials and excellent indoor air quality contribute to healthy homes for some of the most vulnerable in our communities.

– Focusing on durability in design and product selection helps to keep O&M costs low, allowing funds to go towards services instead of maintenance.

As a leader in affordable housing and green building, and as an organization that is continuously pushing the envelope in everything it does, it made sense for Foundation Communities to take on the Living Building Challenge (LBC).

The project team felt that the Lakeline Learning Center design was appropriate for the Living Building Challenge for a number of reasons. First, it was a stand-alone single story building with low water needs making it possible to experiment with new techniques, strategies, and systems at a comfortable scale. Second, it was not a residence, meaning staff had complete operational control. Third, learning centers are the community hub, designed to inspire and educate, and offer a place for community engagement, social events and activities. The original goal was to achieve full Living Building Certification. But due to financing availability and issues related to battery storage, the team ultimately decided to pursue Zero Energy Certification. Nevertheless, deep and thoughtful analysis went into all decisions, with Foundation Communities’ mission carefully weighed against the goals and ambitions of the project. When it became clear that achieving the Materials and Water Petals was no longer feasible, the team remained focused on selecting the healthiest materials for children and staff, and tailoring water strategies to maximize rainwater collection to meet the needs of all non-potable uses inside and outside of the building.

The original goal of the Learning Center was to be as efficient as possible to achieve net zero. But energy modeling results made it clear that designing exclusively for the highest level of efficiency was not necessary to achieve net zero. Design decisions emphasized efficiency, durability and replicability, as well as cost. Envelope The exterior wall system is similar to a typical residential system, with Zip R-Sheathing, blown-in cellulose in the cavity, and a combination of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) and Hardie cement board siding. The original intent was for thermal mass infill walls between classrooms to help improve passive cooling and heating. Energy modeling results showed this method was unnecessary to achieve net zero, and the cost became prohibitive. HVAC The building utilizes a single, roof-mounted, 25 Ton High Efficiency Direct Expansion Variable Air Volume (VAV) system. A VAV box and thermostat in each classroom allow precise occupant comfort and control. Utilizing zone demand control ventilation along with supply air temperature setback control, the unit can continuously monitor the building’s HVAC needs and cut back on capacity and usage when possible to save energy. An energy recovery wheel allows the unit to capture waste heat from the building, which is used to pretreat the ventilation air. Ceiling fans in each classroom, the main gathering room, and the screened porch, increase airflow and extend the days in the fall and spring when HVAC can be turned off. A heat pump provides water heating for restroom fixtures, handwashing troughs, and the STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, and Math) classroom sink. The team chose to use a point-of-use water heater for the kitchen, located on the opposite side of the building from the rest of the plumbing, to reduce plumbing lines throughout the building. Lighting Lighting is 100% LED throughout the Learning Center. Daylighting analysis revealed inadequate daylighting in the main gathering room in the original design. The addition of skylights and slight shifting of clerestories made significant improvements. Plug loads are independently monitored per room, allowing opportunities for students to engage in monitoring through energy-use competitions among classrooms. Typical Foundation Communities learning centers include a dedicated computer lab with desktop computers. To reduce load and provide more flexible classroom space, this learning center shifted to a mobile laptop cart.

You can find out more about this case study from ILFI here.

Submitter's Details

OrganisationInternational Living Future Institution

The Lakeline Learning Center set a new precedent for Foundation Communities, as a model for outstanding design, collaboration, and innovation. Foundation Communities’ mission is to provide housing where families can succeed. There is a clear alignment between this mission and sustainable buildings.