A school that stands as a beacon of sustainability in New York City

Architecture firm, SOM created a net-zero elementary school that is geared towards sustainable living.
The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability

Multinational architecture, design and engineering firm, SOM are the team behind the design of New York City’s first net-zero school. The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability, which spans roughly 6300 square metres, has been designed to create the same amount of renewable energy that it consumes on site.

The Staten Island elementary school not only teaches sustainability, nearly every nook and cranny embodies it. To start with, SOM strategically positioned the building to allow natural sunlight in through the multiple skylights, windows and daylit offset corridors, and to ensure the solar panels receive optimum sun exposure. The school is naturally heated and cooled by geothermal wells built beneath the school’s athletic field and features an outdoor air system, including energy-recovery ventilators to bring fresh air into the building.

The kitchen is fitted with strictly low-energy equipment and the greenhouse, green roof and vegetable garden educates the students about healthy eating and living. Other key sustainable features include energy-efficient lighting fixtures and a high-performance building envelope.

SOM Design Partner Roger Duffy believes that the school defines “a new standard for energy-efficient school buildings in New York City and worldwide.”