Living Classroom Project
In its far-reaching sustainable design, the new living classroom will serve as a
vital learning tool and a model of sustainable design and construction all
across Virginia. The construction and landscaping will be done entirely by
Plans for the classroom include covered with zinc siding with a green veil of vegetation on the roof. The interior design will be warm and inviting, with reclaimed and regional timber beams and local wood paneling. All exposed materials will be maintenance-free. The south wall will be comprised of glass, maximizing views of the surrounding environment while providing passive heating in the winter. Large operating windows on the east and west walls also provide views and natural ventilation. The lighting system will be used minimally because all occupied spaces will have abundant daylight.
While nationally the building sector contributes between 40% and 50% of all carbon emissions in the United States, SWCC’s classroom will be designed to slash energy consumption as a super-insulated and airtight building. The passive solar heating will supplement the building’s heating needs while a high efficiency heat recovery ventilation unit will continuously provide fresh air. It is anticipated that the on-site grid-connected solar photo voltaic system will provide as much energy as the building uses. Most wastewater will be treated on-site through the use of modern looking composting toilets.
The living classroom will be utilized by several academic programs and departments on campus including the biology department for science instruction ranging from general biology labs to the study of ecosystem ecology. The classroom will also be used for environmental studies, outdoor management/operations studies, recreational outdoor programs and many more programs of study to be determined.