The Willow School’s Health, Wellness & Nutrition Center is the first certified Living Building in New Jersey, according to the International Living Future Institute. The Health, Wellness & Nutrition Center is now one of only 14 certified Living Buildings worldwide. At 20,000 square feet, the multi-use educational center is also the largest certified Living Building at any school in the United States. For more on the building’s certification, visit the Living Future website.
The Center features four middle school classrooms, dining room, movement area, commercial kitchen, teaching kitchen, health and wellness spaces, Energy Gallery, support spaces, and faculty room. The building runs on 100% renewable energy powered by Solar PV panels – produce 215,000 kWh per year with the estimated building consumption at 128,000 kWh per year. Over 95% of all construction waste is recycled or reused. All rainwater is captured, treated, and utilized in the building to flush toilets and to recharge the groundwater. Using primarily recycled and salvaged materials, all of the building products meet the Living Building Challenge’s requirements for Red List and Appropriate Sourcing to promote human health, good indoor air quality, and reduce the carbon footprint of both the construction and operation of the building.
The Living Building Challenge is the most stringent third-party certified green building program available to date. To learn more about the Living Building Challenge, read this ARTICLE from BuildingGreen.com
The Center functions as a living organism. Harvesting all of its energy from the sun and collecting only as much rainwater as it needs, the building produces minimal waste. The hybrid ventilation system improves indoor air quality. When the outside temperature is between 65 and 80 degrees, the mechanical heating and cooling systems turn off and fresh outside air is brought inside. The superior thermal envelope of the building is uniquely balanced to create daylight autonomy. The sun meets 85% of the building’s lighting needs during the school’s operational hours. These features provide for an environment like no other on a school campus to learn science, math, ecology, and health by making the sustainable elements both visible and functional. Students actively participate in the monitoring of energy usage, waste collection and recycling, and systems monitoring with guidance from the Science teachers and Facilities staff.