Intended to be used as a teaching tool, the Math Science Center MASC is the Millbrook Schools first building constructed with integrated sustainable design strategies and is one of only five academic buildings in the state of New York to receive LEED Gold rating. The building, completed in 2008, has diagrammatic placards throughout the building to explain how such features as the geothermal heating and cooling system and the use of natural ventilation and lighting work to continually reduce the carbon footprint of all inhabitants.
Situated on the schools idyllic campus in upstate New York, surrounded by 800 acres of woods, streams and farmland, the new 25,000 sf building consists of four, discipline-specific science labs, independent project areas, five math classrooms, an IT suite and server room, faculty office suite, and a free-standing greenhouse. Recognizing the importance of daylight and views for both energy efficiency and creating a good learning environment for the 250 students at the school, all learning spaces and offices receive natural lighting from large windows in at least two directions. High efficiency light fixtures are coupled with daylight harvesting sensors and dimming ballasts to automatically control energy consumption. Traditional in proportion, materials, and detailing, MASC makes use of innovative strategies including curtain wall glazing technology.
Energy efficiency is also achieved in the buildings mechanical system by utilizing a geothermal heating and cooling system. The sixteen, 500-foot closed-loop wells quietly and cleanly transfer heat energy to and from the earth at a percentage of the operating cost of a standard boiler and chiller system. The glass-enclosed corridors collect sunlight in the winter while natural ventilation in the building design permits breezes in the summer. The standing-seam upper roof has a metal finish that minimizes heat absorption, while the lower roof, visible from the science corridor, is a green roof that cools the building, reduces storm water runoff and improves runoff quality. Water that comes from the roof is collected into an interior cistern and used in the restrooms, where flush-less urinals reduce the use of water.
Other sustainable practices are conspicuously located throughout the building. Both a solar hot water heating system and an array of photovoltaic cells for generating electricity for the building are located on the roof. Sustainable and natural material choices, such as concrete flooring, slate, wool carpet, wood fiber ceilings, low VOC paints, Forest Stewardship Council FSC certified woods, and furniture made with recycled materials, create an interior that fits the schools character and idyllic campus surrounded by 800 acres of woods, streams and farmland, while respecting the environment.