From the playground, The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground, also known as P.S. 62, looks like something you’d expect to see in Scandinavia, not Staten Island. With a crisp, clean facade, solar panel-clad roof, and colorful windows, it’s bright, cheerful, and anything but the brick-clad, institutional structure one might expect for urban schoolchildren.
If the designers and New York officials who helped make this experiment in sustainability a reality have their way, it might also serve as an important model for making the school system, and city, greener and more cost-efficient. Designed by a team from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), P.S. 62 sets a new standard as the city's first net-zero school, and one of the first in the world. A year after opening, the 68,000-square-foot school and community center has a energy footprint that’s just half as large—52 percent less, to be exact—as a traditional school.