By Eera Babtiwale, Environmental Analyst
Middle College High School (MCHS), located on the campus of LA Southwest College, demonstrates how sustainability is the way forward, serving as an example of how sustainable design is synonymous with good building design. The project is the result of a unique collaboration between the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Community College District, Southwest College and the design-build team of HMC Architects-Bernards Brothers. From design conception to construction, all entities recognized the critical synergy between sustainable design and successful learning environments. As a result of this shared philosophy, the 61,105-GSF high school achieved LEED Gold certification.
The most important outcome of the building will be its ability to cultivate high-performance students who will become environmental stewards of the future. All the sustainability features at MCHS are highlighted via a sustainability kiosk and sustainability signage so that students can learn how the building design supports their learning potential, and the environment at large.
Sustainable design features at MCHS include:
– High performance building envelope (sun shading of windows, R21 wall insulation and R38 roof insulation)
– 75% of classroom spaces are naturally daylit
– Low flow plumbing fixtures allow the building to achieve over 50% water savings
– Smart irrigation and native planting achieve a 72.5% reduction in irrigation water use
– 24% more energy efficient than a Title 24 baseline building
– Rooftop photovoltaic array supplies 5.67% renewable energy
– Rooftop solar thermal panels provide hot water supply to the indoor pool building
– Displacement ventilation provides optimal air quality to the multi-purpose building
– Natural ventilation supplies fresh outdoor air to the pool building
– 20% of the project’s building materials are composed of recycled content
– 20% of the project’s building materials are composed of regional content
– 86% of the wood in the project is composed of FSC wood