Woodside Priory School

Woodside Priory School is nestled amongst pine trees and rolling hills in Portola Valley, California. Integral Group, in close collaboration with GaS architects, helped design a new STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, and math) classroom building and residential faculty building on the campus that seamlessly blend into the surrounding landscape. Our aim was to provide beautiful, healthy, and energy-efficient spaces for Woodside’s learning community to grow and flourish.

On the classroom building, we prepared the southwest-facing roof for the installation of solar panels. Our modeling team determined the energy-use target for the net zero ready building to ensure that the building’s energy consumption will not exceed energy production from the future photovoltaic (PV) array. Our designs also ensured that the roof surface is cleared and HVAC equipment is thoughtfully placed so that there is sufficient room for the future panels.

Classrooms have their own specific heating and cooling needs throughout the day depending on the types of activities taking place within them and whether or not they are occupied. In response, Integral Group designed a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system that adjusts the flow of refrigerant fluid to match the specific heating or cooling requirements of individual classrooms. VRF can also intelligently transfer heat between adjacent spaces instead of just exhausting it, increasing the efficiency of the HVAC system.

The HVAC system for the new campus buildings also uses energy-recovery ventilators (ERVs), which condition the outside air used to ventilate the building with the air exhausted from indoors, reducing the need for extra heating and cooling. The ERVs are equipped with high-efficiency filters that provide excellent indoor air quality through a dedicated outside air ventilator. In Portola Valley’s mild climate, the ERVs are designed to use airside economizing for much of the year, forgoing conditioning entirely.

Electric, point-of-use water heaters were installed at sinks throughout the new buildings, eliminating the need to constantly maintain a recirculating hot water system by instead creating hot water on demand. A low-energy lighting system uses daylighting sensors to make use of the California sunshine whenever possible. Light fixtures were carefully arranged relative to surrounding surfaces to create even lighting distribution throughout the buildings. Occupancy sensor controls also automatically turn off lights when rooms are unoccupied. Integral Group believes that these thoughtful and energy-efficient design innovations enhance comfort for students and faculty alike, contributing to optimal learning environments.

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