By Emily Kingston

Yesterday, approximately 40 professionals from the green building industry joined together to take a tour of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School in Cambridge, MA. Led by Jana Silsby of ‎Perkins Eastman, the highlight of the tour was a very impressive solar PV system (pictured on the left). Although the school's budget couldn't allow for a net-zero design, the school itself is still 82% more energy efficient than the average elementary school, a remarkable accomplishment for Cambridge's green, net-zero effort.

Coupled with the solar PV system, the school also installed a multitude of energy efficiency initiatives including over 60 geothermal wells, daylight-harvesting windows, and a gray water storage system. Another impactful initiative Jana mentioned was that the students will be involved in learning about the importance of green building through their own school's design. The teachers plan to incorporate the buildings' water and energy consumption into the curriculum in order to assimilate the children into Cambridge's net zero way of thinking. In addition to the curriculum, students are also involved in the green effort through the school's garden, establishing a fascinating synergy between nature, the students, and their own city. 

Wayne J. Griffin Electric Inc., the contractor of the school's rebuilding, hired CivicSolar and Zapotec Energy to collaborate on the building's design, engineering, and construction, creating an environmental model that will definitely have an impact on future buildings, especially in Massachusetts. 

The USGBC MA sends a huge thank you to everyone who participated in this tour, both attendees and people involved in the project!

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