The Evolution of Net-Zero Energy Schools – A Comparative Analysis of Three Zero Energy Projects Designed by VMDO Architects

27 Sep 2023
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The Evolution of Net-Zero Energy Schools – A Comparative Analysis of Three Zero Energy Projects Designed by VMDO Architects

The Evolution of Net-Zero Energy Schools – A Comparative Analysis of Three Zero Energy Projects Designed by VMDO Architects

27 Sep 2023
About the speakers
  • Jeffrey Chambers
    Jeffrey Chambers
    Director, Design and Construction at Arlington Public Schools
    Jeff has been involved in all aspects of his projects including planning, design and construction administration as an educational facility planner and architect. Currently, the Director, Design and Construction of Arlington Public Schools, he is responsible for planning, design, and construction of all capital improvement projects in the School Division. Under his direction projects must be both environmentally and educationally sustainable in addition to being cost effective to construct. Based on experience, good design and sustainable results do not have to add cost to a project provided systems and materials are maximized. Arlington Public Schools projects are required to facilitate the educational program as a tool for learning and to meet LEED Silver minimum certification. Currently, the school system is home to two of the largest, certified net zero elementary schools and recently opened what will hopefully the third net zero facility.
  • Anisa Heming
    Anisa Heming
    Director, Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council
    Anisa Heming is director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council and one of the nation’s foremost experts on green schools. She provides strategic direction to USGBC’s work in schools and coordinates an organization-wide team to promote environmental sustainability, health and wellness, and sustainability literacy in school systems around the world. Anisa is a Little Rock native and holds a B.S. in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and an M. Arch. from the University of Washington in Seattle.
  • Catherine Lin
    Catherine Lin
    Director, Facilities and Operations at Arlington Public Schools
    Cathy Lin is the Director of Facilities and Operations at Arlington Public Schools (APS) with over 30 years of experience in program and project management throughout her career in the Air Force, in the private sector, and at Arlington Public Schools (APS). Cathy plans, supervises, and manages the workflow in the department, and she is the focal point for budget, real property, and sustainability initiatives. Cathy is a strong champion for environmental literacy and clean energy projects and enjoys opportunities working with students to create future stewards of our environment.
  • Wyck Knox
    Wyck Knox
    Principal at VMDO Architects
    With over three decades of professional practice, Wyck has deep experience with institutional client types – school systems, colleges and universities, local and state governments. The first part of his career was spent designing laboratories and courthouses, but since 2005, his focus has been on primary, secondary, and higher education projects. Wyck is a co-leader of VMDO’s K-12 practice area and has been a partner at VMDO Architects since 2016. Wyck is national-level expert on the design of net-zero schools – and has completed over half a million square feet of verified net zero educational and community spaces. He was a contributor to the Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings, available free through Two of Wyck’s schools – Discovery ES and Manassas Park ES - have received the AIA Committee on the Environment’s “Top Ten” annual award for ten projects that meet rigorous criteria for social, economic, and ecological value. The USGBC’s Center for Green Schools routinely promotes his projects as exemplary examples of schools that effectively use the “building-as-a-teaching tool” concept to promote stewardship, wellness and engagement. Discovery ES was selected by UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment as the “most livable building in America” for 2021.
  • Michelle	Amt
    Michelle Amt
    Director of Sustainability, Senior Associate at VMDO Architects
    Dr. Erin Healy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English, a Master’s Degree in Education, and a certificate in Administration from George Mason University. She earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from George Washington University. Dr. Healy has 23 years of experience serving as an educator which includes six years as a teacher. She began her career as an English teacher at West Potomac High School John R. Lewis in Fairfax County Public Schools. She joined Arlington Public Schools as an assistant principal at Williamsburg Middle School in 2006. She was hired in 2014 to open Discovery Elementary School. She used the first year to build community, hire staff, and create a vision for the new school that opened in 2015. She engaged the community, staff, and students in choosing the school name, mascot, and colors. She uses her leadership to ensure students make academic progress and students become good stewards of the environment. School Mission: Explorers learn, collaborate, and innovate with the world in mind. Disclosure information not submitted.

Key takeaways

- Participants will have a better understanding of the design and operation of a net zero energy school and how to apply net zero school design in their own communities.

- From experts in this field, participants will acquire best practices and lessons learned from over a decade of design, construction, and operation of NZE buildings.

- Participants will benefit from an in-depth description of verification systems like LEED Zero and their benefits.

- Participants will learn about forecasted opportunities and challenges for the future of NZE buildings.