Learning from School Buildings: Best Practices in Interdisciplinary Design for Energy Efficiency and User Comfort

The Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC) has funded a research project under the direction of the BCSEA that is examining the balance between energy efficiency and thermal comfort when it comes to elementary school design.  Led by McFarland Marceau Architects and supported by Rocky Point Engineering, this project is intended to identify common elements of effective design elements from a technical point of view that can serve as a guide for both new construction and retrofit design of elementary schools.  This work is focused on examining schools in Metro Vancouver, with the opportunity for follow-on work examining school design in other parts of BC.  This work will feature both quantitative technical information, along with qualitative reviews of thermal comfort complaints along with maintenance records and information to form a holistic overview of the challenges and opportunities facing Lower Mainland school districts in being energy efficient, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, and maintaining thermal comfort for students and staff year-round.

The goal of this work is to create a set of retrofit recommendations that can be applied to any age or type of construction of existing buildings, or best practices on the design of new construction facilities.  Data collection is well underway, with initial results due in mid-2023, with a final report due at the end of the year.  The BCSEA will host a webinar in early 2024 that will walk through the results of this study. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the REFBC in funding this work.