We are working to bring to market healthy classrooms, which markedly improve the learning environment. The end product will be a classroom module that is healthy, comfortable, energy and resource efficient, utilizes renewable energy and is intelligently configured to optimize the well-being and performance of students and staff.
While the primary goal is to improve the learning environment,the practical goal is to create a comprehensive solution that is financially competitive, fully relocatable, aesthetically fulfilling and employs the latest design concepts for adaptability and reuse.
This goal will be achieved by using sustainable design and building practices employed by Healthy Buildings over the last decade. These practices include the use of the most current products and materials with minimal toxic components and maximized durability, acoustics, thermal properties, and opportunities for recycling and reuse. Designs will take full advantage of natural lighting and airflow and ensure efficient and quiet air handling to achieve the highest levels of indoor air quality and student productivity.
The Healthy Classroom will be constructed in a modular panelized form. This design will include a structural skeleton, insulated structural and infill wall panels, and spanning roof and floor panels that may be broken down and stacked on a truck bed. Panels will be designed to be interchangeable so that a Healthy Classroom’s use may be modified over time, or when relocated. Finishing elements such as skylights, windows, doors, fixtures and cabinetry will be easily mounted in predetermined locations.
The Healthy Classroom concept focuses on an approximate 900 sq. ft. polygonal footprint per classroom. The benefits of this footprint when compared to the standard rectangular relocatable include more modern architecture, efficient use of space, superior adaptability and reuse, and great potential for efficiencies in energy usage and generation. Also, a more creative footprint allows for a creative student seating arrangement.
Superior performance of floor and wall insulation, window glazing and films, and window and door seals will ensure a good thermal boundary. Placement of doors and windows will be so that natural lighting and airflow, lines of site, and student flow into and out of the classroom are optimized. Windows will be capable of opening to let in fresh air when needed in the mild times of year. A vapor barrier in the wall panels will reduce sources of mold and bacteria build-up.
Design concepts include the use of products and materials that do not off-gas volatile organic compounds (e.g. formaldehyde and countless other chemicals) or promote the growth of molds, mildew or bacteria. Carpeting will be replaced by durable and rapidly renewable flooring. Rapidly renewable materials like cork and bamboo, and durable options like stained concrete and tile will be considered.
Wherever possible, natural lighting has been included in the Healthy Classroom’s concepts. Skylights or Solar Tubes are located in at least two (2) positions along the roofline. Windows are placed high in the wall to preserve wall space for shelving and visual aids. Heat will naturally escape these windows when opened in summer months. Large windows will be positioned as desired to provide students with a more natural view of the outside world.
A reflective roof is proposed to ensure radiant sunlight does not cause elevated temperatures and increased demands on the HVAC system. In the most “green” design a natural roof (native plants growing on the roof surface) is implemented to both reduce heat transfer and water run-off. A single pitch roof and proper classroom orientation will enable solar panels to be mounted on the top of each classroom.