When the $29-million, 152,000-square-foot Lady Bird Johnson Middle School opened in Irving, Texas, it was the first net-zero school in Texas and the largest in the country. Designed by Corgan Associates, the school, which opened in 2011, has geothermal heating and air-conditioning, wind turbines, and a large solar energy system that produces as much energy on-site as it uses throughout the year. The school also offers hands-on interactive displays to study and understand these technologies.
“Learning in this building is not hidden behind walls or covered up with craft paper, but the learning in the classrooms, halls, flexible spaces, and sustainable systems is transparent and on display to all who enter,” Susan Smith, Corgan’s vice president, says.
The school may have cost 12 percent more than a traditional one, but the district is expected to recoup its investment via energy savings within 10 to 12 years of opening.
Photo by Charles D. Smith