George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health earned LEED Platinum certification not long after the building officially opened its doors in 2014. Now that the building has been operational for over a year, let’s take a look at a few of the key strategies integrated into the design that contribute to the energy efficiency of the building.
The varied urban context created three unique edge conditions for the Milken Institute’s landscape, environmental considerations led to a range of different envelope strategies. Glazing and shading strategies, specific to each orientation, were selected with the use of parametric analysis. The west-facing façade, overlooking the residential neighborhood, incorporates narrow punched windows to limit solar gain; the south face features a deep aluminum sunscreen rising the full height of the façade; the southeast façade utilizes ceramic frit glazing; and the north-facing façade, where views are most plentiful, provides for the most extensive areas of unobstructed glazing.
Mechanically, a dedicated ventilation system with dual energy recovery wheels minimizes the amount of energy used to condition outside air. Locating the classrooms inboard on the floors, and surrounding them with open interactive space and study rooms accessible to all building occupants, creates a unique arrangement where students have immediate access to both formal and informal learning environments. This strategy provided for more effective sound insulation and better energy use; classrooms are not subject to envelope thermal swings and the outboard interactive spaces could be treated with greater tolerance for temperature control.