Electrical Systems, Energy Model, & PV

Draft plan as of 8-15-18

August 15th Meeting Recap: Those who spend time in the Lincoln School know that whether it’s summer or winter, currently there is a wide temperature range from one room to another. One of the big impacts of the renovation will be a better, quieter, and much more consistent environment for our students and faculty. The choice of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning), lighting, and life-safety systems also ties directly into our goal of making this an energy-efficient and sustainable building. This week’s SBC meeting was focused on three key components of the project: the electrical systems, predicted electricity needs, and on-site electricity generation. Click here for the slide presentation.

  • HVAC: The goal is to try to move to all-electric systems and to generate as much energy as the school uses. Currently the school is heated with natural gas, and there is no centralized de-humidification or cooling (some selected areas such as offices and the library do have cooling). We are planning to switch to an electric system that will have the capacity to heat, de-humidify, and cool the building by using a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC system. It is similar to a “mini-split” system used in many homes, and allows temperatures to be evenly controlled in different parts of the building. The system will also include energy recovery units that will provide ventilation throughout the building.
  • Lighting: The project will include LED lighting and a straightforward digital lighting control system. This will adjust the level of artificial light to the amount of natural light in a room, helping to reduce energy consumption.
  • Life-Safety: Communication systems, security, and fire protection systems are all part of the electrical system. What happens if we lose power?! An emergency generator is also part of the project to ensure operable safety systems, frozen pipe prevention, and communication in case of power loss.
  • How Much Electricity Do We Need? As plans are developed, SMMA is developing and updating the energy model that predicts how much electricity will be needed to run the building. The current iteration of the model predicts the average annual use will be 1.1 million kWh. When planning for energy generation and operating costs, the industry best practice is to add 20% to the predicted use, which brings us to 1.3 million kWh/year. These numbers will continue to be refined throughout the design process.
  • On-Site Electricity Generation: Good news – Between the roof of the school and building photovoltaic (PV) canopies over the two main parking lots, we can generate all the electricity we need! TBD – As presented by SMMA and Solar Design Associates, the current cost estimate (which is purposely conservative) is higher than the amount earmarked in the June budget. Click here for Solar Design Associates’ slide presentation.

Next Steps: SMMA and Solar Design Associates will continue to refine the building systems and the design, see how those changes affect the energy model, review cost estimates, and look for opportunities within the project budget for meeting our sustainability goals. The SBC will revisit this topic at an upcoming meeting.

This Wednesday’s Meeting (August 22nd):  The SBC will be meeting this Wednesday and will look again at site plans, exterior elevations, and plans for the central entrance and Commons. Please join us at 7:00pm in the Hartwell multipurpose room or watch us on TV! An updated meeting schedule can be be found here .

The Building, PV Panels, and Us…

this is what we need to meet our goal of making the Lincoln School a “net zero” building.

Make no mistake, this is an ambitious goal that requires careful planning, attention to detail, and conscious decisions about how we use the building. A further complexity of meeting our goal is the fact that this is essentially a renovation project, not new construction. This Wednesday, August 15th, 7pm, Hartwell Multipurpose room, the SBC invites you to join us for a meeting that will focus on the many sustainability components of the project.

The Building: The “building envelope” and the type of heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system we choose both have a huge impact on the efficiency of the building.

Building Envelope: This is made up of the walls, roof, and windows.  To have a building that uses the least amount of energy, the school must be protected by a continuous and substantial layer of insulation. Because the Lincoln School was originally built as separate buildings in numerous phases between 1948 and 1994, the current campus has many different types of construction. So what does that mean for the project?

  • To meet our goal of a building that generates as much energy as it consumes (“net zero”) we must create a unified building envelope.
  • Only a small portion (about 20 – 25%) of the project is new construction.
  • In general, most of the exterior walls will need to be rebuilt to meet current structural codes and to accommodate the necessary insulation.

HVAC System: According to the guidelines adopted by Lincoln in 2008, a net zero building cannot rely on fossil fuels for heating or cooking because they are not (easily) renewable sources of energy. Currently the school is heated by natural gas boilers. The project is looking at new HVAC and kitchen systems that will be all-electric, offset by electricity generated by PV panels (see below).

Photovoltaic (PV) Panels: Another key component of net zero is energy generation to offset electricity consumption.  Where? How? On August 15th, the design team will introduce a preliminary PV plan that shows the location of panels on the roof and over parking lots.

Us: The third big factor is, of course, us – get used to hearing the term “plug loads”! Plug load simply refers to all of the stuff we plug into an outlet – computers, coffee pots, science lab equipment, copy machines, microwaves, electric pencil sharpeners, lava lamps…you get the idea. This will be a topic of many future conversations!


TWO SESSIONS: 8am – 10am & 7pm – 9pm, Brooks Gym

August 8th Recap: The SBC spent a lot of time talking about the site plan and design ideas for the new part of the building which will house the dining commons, kitchen, and administrative offices. Click here to see the slide presentation, and here to watch the meeting video.

Coming Next: The SBC will be meeting on the following dates:

  • August 15th – Focus on Sustainability
  • August 22nd – Floor Plans, Site Plans, Exterior Design
  • August 29th – Updates on everything!
  • September 12th – Finalize Floor Plans, Site Plans, Exterior Design, Systems and Sustainability so that we can send it all to the cost estimators!

Change of Plans…

…SBC adds an August 15th meeting to the schedule.

Looking at all that needs to be accomplished in August, the SBC has added an additional meeting on August 15th (7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room).

Here’s a rundown of what will be covered in the next three meetings:

August 8th: Looking at the outside!

  • Site Plans: Update and Discussion
  • Exteriors: Update and Discussion
  • Structural Systems
  • Review Meeting Schedule

August 15th: All about sustainability!

  • Mechanical Systems: Update and Discussion
  • Energy Model: Presentation and Discussion
  • Photovoltaic Plan: Presentation and Discussion

August 22nd: Covering it all!

  • Review Site Plan
  • Review Floor Plans
  • Review Updated Exterior Elevations
  • Phasing Plans
  • Preliminary Interior Spaces Review

We hope you’ll make Wednesday nights a standing date with the SBC…if you can’t be there in person, meetings are televised.

So What Might it Look Like?

“Honoring our History, Building our Future” is not just our project’s motto, it translates into decisions we have already made (choosing L3 on June 9th) and into the decisions we are making now during the schematic design phase of the project. At the July 25th meeting, SMMA and EwingCole introduced exterior elevation renderings to the SBC. This takes the project out of the 2-dimensional phase, and launches us into 3-D.  In other words, what might the building look like? As with every other aspect of the project, this is an iterative process of design refinement, but it was clear from the design team’s presentation that they understood our motto, and are using it as a guiding principle for their designs. The elevations presented focused on 3 main areas of the exterior: classroom wings; the front of the central entrance/dining commons; and the western (back) view of the commons.

Classroom Wings:  When the Smith School was built in 1948, one of its ground-breaking features (see pages 126-129) was the use of canopies to shield the classrooms from the glare of the eastern exposure. Although they were made of wood and were removed several decades ago when they began to rot, this type of canopy is now a standard feature in architecture. As shown in these sketches (sloped roof is at the Smith end, flat roof is at the Brooks end), our design team is proposing a modern version that would not only restore the look of the building and control how sunlight enters the classroom (reducing the need for both artificial light and window shades), but the canopy would also be covered in photovoltaic panels to generate electricity.

Heart of the School: The new central entrance, Commons and administrative area form the “heart” of our building. The design team drew on both agricultural and modernist themes to propose an understated entrance to the school.  They also showed a concept for the west side of the area. The design team is going to continue to work on the design of this important focal point and bring additional concepts to the next meeting on August 8th.

7/25 Concept for Main Entrance

The SBC also talked about traffic circulation and pick-up/drop-off options, and will continue to review site plans at the next several meetings. Here is the entire slide presentation, and you can watch the meeting and the conversation by going to the home page and clicking on “meeting videos.”

Use Your Influence! This is a very exciting phase of the project, with many crucial decisions that must be made in just a couple of (very!) short months – come join our intrepid band of “SBC groupies” and make sure your voice is part of the decision-making! Meetings are always open to the public. If you can’t be there in person, look at the presentations or watch the meeting videos and provide us with your feedback. You can respond through the website, comment on blog posts, or contact the SBC by emailing sbc@lincnet.org.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, August 8, 7:00pm, Hartwell Multipurpose room. There will be a special focus on the location of mechanical systems and photovoltaic panels – where’s all that stuff going to fit? There will also be continued discussions about floor plans, site plans, and exterior elevations.  Click here for the fall schedule.

REMINDER: SBC Meeting on Wednesday!

Google Earth image

Wednesday, July 25th, 7:00pm, Hartwell Multipurpose Room: The SBC will focus on two big topics:

Building Exterior: SMMA/EwingCole will introduce plans for the building’s exterior. How will the new central entrance/Commons look? What kinds of materials will we use?

Site Plan: How will bus and car drop-offs work? Where do pedestrians and cyclists go? What are the opportunities for outdoor learning spaces? Where is the parking?

There will also be a review of the preliminary “roof scape” plan.  This will show ideas about the rooflines of the building and how mechanical systems and solar panels fit into the design.

The meeting format will be similar to the prior two meetings – audience members join committee members at tables to review plans and provide feedback. The meeting will be televised.

Up Next: The rest of the summer is equally fast-paced!

  • August 8th: Focus on mechanical, electrical, plumbing systems, wall and roof systems, and photovoltaic arrays.
  • August 22nd: Community charette to focus on interior spaces and security.
  • September 5th: Finalize floor plans, site plans, systems, sustainability features. Plans must be finalized to begin cost estimation process.

July 25th: Exterior Elevations and Site Circulation

July 11th Floor Plan Iteration

July 11th Recap: At last week’s meeting, the SBC looked at a new iteration of the floor plan, discussed components of sustainability, and reviewed an updated project schedule. The meetings are now being televised, and you can watch the July 11th meeting here.

The slides from the meeting are posted here.

Up Next: On July 25th, the SBC will focus on two big topics:

  • Building Exterior: SMMA/EwingCole will introduce plans for the building’s exterior. How will the new central entrance/Commons look? What kinds of materials will we use?
  • Site Plan: How will bus and car drop-offs work? Where do pedestrians and cyclists go? What are the opportunities for outdoor learning spaces? Where is the parking?

Sizzling Summer: The rest of the summer is equally fast-paced! Once again there was great public participation on July 11th, and the SBC is grateful that so many people are making SBC meetings a priority. We look forward to seeing you all for the following meetings:

  • August 8th: Focus on mechanical, electrical, plumbing systems, wall and roof systems, and photovoltaic arrays.
  • August 22nd: Community charette to focus on interior spaces and security.
  • September 5th: Finalize floor plans, site plans, systems, sustainability features. Plans must be finalized to begin cost estimation process.
  • The fall schedule (updated as of June 20th) is posted here.

July 11th Focus: Building Envelope & Sustainability

EUI = Energy Use Intensity

We have ambitious goals! How do we minimize energy consumption and maximize sustainability? Answering that question requires careful attention to the building envelope.  The “envelope” is comprised of the walls, roof, floor, and windows.  Decisions about each of these has a direct impact on the long-term energy use of the school. Please come to the July 11th SBC meeting for an in-depth discussion! For more information about sustainability, visit the sustainability page of the SBC website.  SBC meeting is July 11th, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.

Up Next:
  • July 25th – Building Exterior & Site Plan Charettes; review updated Hubs and Commons designs
  • August 8 – Focus on Systems and Photovoltaic Panels; review updated Site Plan & Floor Plans; Exterior Elevations; PV Layouts and Energy Model; Construction Phasing & Swing Space
  • August 22 – Interior Spaces & Security Charettes; review of all other updated plans

Remember: SBC meetings are being televised and are available on the web, https://lincolntv.viebit.com

Come Together – Hubs and the Commons

Wow! About 50 people gathered for last Wednesday’s SBC meeting – We were so excited to have this kind of participation, and impressed by everyone’s fortitude in sticking it out until 11:30pm! It was an action-packed evening that included a presentation by students from the Boston Architectural College (BAC), and a “charette” style conversation about the hub spaces and central commons. Here’s a recap:

BAC Presentation: Rashmi Ramaswamy, faculty member, came with three BAC students and presented the work they did with Lincoln School students.  The BAC students held sessions with both elementary and middle school students to teach them about the purpose of architecture, the design process, and elements of design.  Here are the slides from their presentation.  Our thanks to SBC member, Craig Nicholson, middle school Principal, Sharon Hobbs, and middle school Art teacher, Pam DiBiase for making this collaboration happen!

Charette: Hubs and the Commons: After SMMA made a presentation showing different configuration ideas for the hubs and the commons, small groups spent about an hour and a half examining the options, sketching, posing questions, and sharing out their ideas. This feedback will be used by SMMA/EwingCole to further develop the plans, which will be brought back to the SBC on July 25th. (We hope you’ll join us at 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room!)

Site Planning: SMMA reviewed concepts for site circulation.  Figuring out how to safely move cars, delivery trucks, buses, pedestrians, and cyclists around a campus bordered by wetlands is a complex task! The site plan will be the focus of the July 25th charette.

Up Next on July 11th – Building Envelope Charette: At the next SBC meeting, the charette will focus on the components of the building envelope (windows, walls, roof), which is a major component of what will make the building sustainable.  If sustainability is important to you, NOW’s THE TIME TO COME!

Want to be inspired? A community member found this video about the Welkes Elementary School in Bainbridge Island, Washington. Enjoy!

Look! We’re on TV! (or the Web): We will be filming SBC meetings from now on. Last week’s meeting was filmed in two parts:

Join Us! – Focus on Hubs and Commons

Lincoln School Project (June 9, 2018)

Interested in the configuration of Hub Spaces and the Commons? 

Come to the SBC meeting on Wednesday, June 27th! As mentioned in last week’s blog post, over the next few months each meeting will feature a mini “charette” focused on a particular aspect of the design. Unless otherwise noted, all SBC meetings start at 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.

What is a “charette?” 

  • SBC members and audience members will be put together in groups to focus on and discuss a specific topic (this week – Hubs and the Commons).
  • The design team (SMMA/EwingCole) will guide us through the issues that need to be considered.
  • Groups will ask questions and generate ideas; the SBC will decide which ideas SMMA/EwingCole should incorporate into the next iteration of the design.

This is crucial work, and if these details interest you NOW is the time to be involved! The Schematic Design process will be intense over the summer! By the start of September a final set of Floor Plans, Site Plans, and Elevations will be given to the cost estimators.

Also on June 27th…

  • Review of Site Circulation (traffic flow for cars, buses, bikes, pedestrians)
  • Review of updated Floor Plans

Up Next…

At the July 11th meeting, the charette will focus on building envelope and sustainability. “Building envelope” refers to how the skin of the building is constructed – wall and roof materials, insulation, and windows.

Rule #10

“It never gets easier, you just go faster.”  

– attributed to Greg LeMan, Rule #10, http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

Cycling enthusiasts are probably familiar with this quote, which an SBC audience member was sporting on his T-shirt at the June 13th SBC meeting. Given all that needs to be accomplished between now and December 1st, it is the perfect message to get us through the work ahead! So grab a power bar, fill your water bottle, and get ready to shift gears – here we go!

*** First, we must add Lincoln Youth Soccer to the list of groups who deserve a giant “thank you!” LYS was able to reschedule almost every home and away game on June 9th in order to make Town Meeting logistics easier for families. It was a complicated undertaking, and the SBC appreciates this community effort! ***

What’s Ahead?
In our June 6th blog post, we outlined the basics of the “Schematic Design” process. We are embarking on an intensive process that will not rest over the summer. The full schedule of meetings between now and December 1st is posted on the www.lincolnsbc.org home page. That schedule includes the specific design topics to be covered at each meeting. Starting with the June 27th meeting, we will look at detailed floor plans and site plans.

The SBC will establish the final site plans, floor plans, elevations, sustainability features, and mechanical systems by the beginning of September, so that the design team can develop the final cost estimates! The final cost will be approved by mid- to late October!

Here is a “level of interest” guide to get you through the next several months:

“Just tell me when to vote…”

  • Saturday, December 1, 2018 – Special Town Meeting to vote for funding (bond vote); 2/3 majority needed
  • Monday, December 3, 2018 – Ballot vote to approve the bond; simple majority needed

“Big milestones…”

  • There will be 3 Community Forums this fall; dates TBA
  • There will also be other events at the Council on Aging, Lincoln PTO, etc; dates TBA
  • These are opportunities to get updated on floor plans, site plans, sustainability features, exterior and interior plans, costs
  • Ask questions; provide feedback

“I want to keep track of the details…”

  • Pay attention to the weekly blog posts (either by subscribing, www.lincolnsbc.org, or via LincolnTalk)
  • Visit the website!
  • Other committees will also have the project on their agendas as needed. Visit www.lincolntown.org for dates, agendas, and minutes. You can sign up to get meeting notifications from the committees of your choice.

“I want to be fully involved…”

  • Please come to SBC meetings!
  • This is an intense, complex, iterative process, and each meeting will advance us further. The next 4 meetings are: June 27th, July 11th, July 25th, August 8th. The rest of the dates are on the website.
  • Volunteer to hold a neighborhood coffee – you provide the date, venue and a group of people, we’ll do the rest!

Changing things up!
We recognize that many residents who want to participate will not be able to attend all of the summer meetings, so we will be looking for ways to make this process more interactive. Here are some ideas we’re exploring:

  • Using an interactive web tool for comments and suggestions
  • Televising SBC meetings
  • Changing the structure of some SBC meetings
  • Do you have other ideas? Contact us at sbc@lincnet.org!