We asked Firstfloor Energy Positive manager and architect, Robbie Ferris, to answer a series of questions about the world of energy-positive schools and some of the work of Firstfloor Energy Positive has done. Here is what Robbie Ferris has to say about Firstfloor’s work on the Jones County K12 school:
“The Jones County K12 school is a school that was really born out of a tremendous need in the community to close old buildings/build new buildings. They were falling apart, they were 80-90 years old, they had not been maintained over the years, and they were just in poor condition. They needed elementary, middle, and high schools.
With a project of this scale, Fristfloor Energy Positive needed to utilize a unique approach that not only saved money, but improved the overall community as a whole.
“The idea for the Jones County school was that we could pay for the new school with the savings that would be generated from consolidating those three schools into one new building. And that is exactly what we did. So that building is actually saving money, and even though they have a brand-new building, they’re spending less money than they would’ve been spending had they kept the three old buildings. It is an energy-positive school, which means it’s generating significantly more energy than it’s consuming, and it’s designed to reduce energy consumption–first and foremost.
While the reduction of spending was a great benefit to the community, Firstfloor Energy Positive still wanted to address improving the learning environment as a whole. Hence the “Energy Wise” program was designed. The goal of the program is to use the features of the building to enhance learning.
“There is an Energy Wise program at that school, and the students are very engaged in the process. It is a building that incorporates all of the latest strategies from a teaching and learning standpoint. We have a lot of collaboration space in the building and a lot of glass & transparency, so students are working not only in the classrooms but out in the collaboration areas. Teachers can see what is going on in the school throughout the day, so they’re very willing to let students do their thing throughout the day.
This Firstfloor energy positive school is just one of many examples of how energy positive schools are making a difference—one building at a time. Learn more about what Robbie Ferris has to say about energy positive schools here.