The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground

P.S. 62 The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground
PS 62
PS 62
PS 62

Located on Staten Island, the Kathleen Grimm School is the first net-zero-energy school in New York City and one of the first in the world. This cutting-edge building harvests as much energy from renewable on-site sources as it uses and has become a benchmark for public schools nationwide.

Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2015
  • Design Finish Year 2012
  • Size Site Area: 3.50 acres Number of Stories: 2 Building Gross Area: 68,000
  • Awards
    2016, MASterworks Awards: Best New Infrastructure, Municipal Art Society of New York 2016, Platinum Award for Building/Technology Systems, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York 2016, Award of Merit: Mechanical Systems Design, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) 2016, Award of Excellence: Electrical Systems Design, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) 2016, Award of Excellence: Lighting Systems Design, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) 2016, Award of Excellence: Architectural Engineering Integration, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) 2016, Jury Winner: Primary & High Schools: A+ Awards, Architizer 2016, Popular Choice Winner: Primary & High Schools: A+ Awards, Architizer 2016, Best Project (New York Region): Green Project, Engineering News-Record 2016, Innovation by Design Award Finalist, Fast Company 2016, Honor Award, AIA – New York City Chapter Committe on the Environment (COTE) 2016, Honorable Mention: Building of the Year: East, The Architect's Newspaper 2017, World Changing Ideas Award: Finalist, Fast Company 2017, Excellence in Institutional Development, Urban Land Institute (ULI) 2017, Shortlisted: The Plan Award - Education, The Plan 2017, Design Award: Sustainability, Society of American Registered Architects - NY 2017, Sustainable Building Award, World Architecture News (WAN) 2017, Finalist: Education Award, World Architecture News (WAN) 2015, Professional Project Award of Excellence, Architectural Engineering Institute
  • Sustainability Certifications NYC GREEN SCHOOL GUIDE, BD+C, N/A
  • Collaborators
    Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc. Shen Milsom & Wilke Van Deusen & Associates Philip Habib & Associates Pentagram Desimone Consulting Engineers, Pllc AKF Group Brandston Partnership Harvey Marshall Berling Associates Hopkins Food Service Specialist, Inc VJ Associates Center For Architecture Science And Ecology Mark K. Morrison Landscape Architecture The DeMatteis Organization In:Posse Design 2147, Ltd.
Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2015
  • Design Finish Year 2012
  • Size Site Area: 3.50 acres Number of Stories: 2 Building Gross Area: 68,000
  • Awards
    2016, MASterworks Awards: Best New Infrastructure, Municipal Art Society of New York 2016, Platinum Award for Building/Technology Systems, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York 2016, Award of Merit: Mechanical Systems Design, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) 2016, Award of Excellence: Electrical Systems Design, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) 2016, Award of Excellence: Lighting Systems Design, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) 2016, Award of Excellence: Architectural Engineering Integration, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) 2016, Jury Winner: Primary & High Schools: A+ Awards, Architizer 2016, Popular Choice Winner: Primary & High Schools: A+ Awards, Architizer 2016, Best Project (New York Region): Green Project, Engineering News-Record 2016, Innovation by Design Award Finalist, Fast Company 2016, Honor Award, AIA – New York City Chapter Committe on the Environment (COTE) 2016, Honorable Mention: Building of the Year: East, The Architect's Newspaper 2017, World Changing Ideas Award: Finalist, Fast Company 2017, Excellence in Institutional Development, Urban Land Institute (ULI) 2017, Shortlisted: The Plan Award - Education, The Plan 2017, Design Award: Sustainability, Society of American Registered Architects - NY 2017, Sustainable Building Award, World Architecture News (WAN) 2017, Finalist: Education Award, World Architecture News (WAN) 2015, Professional Project Award of Excellence, Architectural Engineering Institute
  • Sustainability Certifications NYC GREEN SCHOOL GUIDE, BD+C, N/A
  • Collaborators
    Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc. Shen Milsom & Wilke Van Deusen & Associates Philip Habib & Associates Pentagram Desimone Consulting Engineers, Pllc AKF Group Brandston Partnership Harvey Marshall Berling Associates Hopkins Food Service Specialist, Inc VJ Associates Center For Architecture Science And Ecology Mark K. Morrison Landscape Architecture The DeMatteis Organization In:Posse Design 2147, Ltd.

Seeking new solutions for sustainability

Buildings are the world’s number one source of greenhouse gas emissions. In New York City, home to the largest school district in the nation, the numbers add up: its 1,600 schools account for nearly 40 percent of emissions from municipal buildings. With the Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground (or P.S. 62), the city saw a major opportunity to make a positive impact.

 

PS62
© Stark Video Inc. | Aerial NY

The NYC School Construction Authority (SCA) tasked SOM with creating a model for a greener school. The bar was set high. SOM was asked to design the first school in New York to achieve net-zero-energy — in other words, to produce as much energy as it consumes. Only a handful of net-zero-energy education facilities had been built in the United States, and none had been designed to meet the year-round demands of a New York City public school. The project itself would be an experiment with wide-ranging implications for the future of school design.

There always comes a point where people say, ‘We haven’t done that before.’ Sometimes it’s good to take a risk…and if you’re really focused, you can make it work.


A 360-degree approach to energy savings

Collaboration and dialogue early in the design process were essential. With a singular focus on saving energy, the design team considered hundreds of possibilities to improve the building’s energy efficiency and worked with the SCA to select the most appropriate and durable options. One of the key strategies is the manipulation of natural light to reduce energy demands.

PS62
© SOM

The entire building is oriented slightly off the site’s north-south axis to capture the greatest amount of sunlight throughout the day. Classrooms are placed where the light hits most, so that 90 percent of the day’s lighting relies exclusively on the sun. More than 2,000 photovoltaic panels — placed at different angles and in various configurations — wrap around the roof and the south facade to generate the maximum amount of power that the sun can provide to the site.

Additionally, a geo-exchange heating and cooling system, a solar thermal system for hot water, and precast concrete rainscreen panels that form a very tight enclosure to minimize air infiltration are just a few of the many energy-reducing strategies that characterize this “sustainability lab” for New York City.

PS62
© SOM
PS 62
© SOM

One school’s big impact

Beyond designing sustainably, SOM imagined the building itself as a tool for learning. Working together with educators, SOM designed an interactive curriculum to teach students the impact of their everyday actions — so that users contribute to the building’s energy efficiency and understand their own role in creating a more sustainable planet.

But the impact of P.S. 62 goes beyond even the education provided to its students. The building is a prototype for sustainable school design. After the school’s opening in 2015, the SCA updated its standards to include some of the features SOM developed. On a nationwide scale, the Grimm School is an example of what architecture can achieve and how it can help confront a warming planet.