Tag: Sustainability

Exterior Update

Last Wednesday, while the sun was still up, the SBC spent part of its meeting outside looking at proposed exterior materials in natural light. As a result, the SBC approved 1) a red brick that mimics the brick on the current Smith School; 2) a dark, warm gray accent brick; and 3) a pallet of three cement board colors that will be used on the upper portions of the Auditorium and Reed Gym.

In addition, SMMA presented an updated HVAC plan.

Click here to see the entire slide deck from the meeting.

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, August 14, 7pm, Hartwell.

SBC Summer Fun!

What a fabulous 4th of July parade! Enjoy some more parade photos below.


The SBC will continue to meet over the summer. On the agenda this Wednesday (July 10, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room):

  • Update on exterior elevations and materials
  • Review mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) systems
  • Review LEED scorecard
  • Project budget update

***Please Note***

The SBC website will be undergoing maintenance over the next week or two – things may look a bit different, or some pages/documents may be temporarily offline. Thank you for your patience!

Update from Town Meeting 2019

For the first time in…a long time…there was no school project presentation or vote at Town Meeting. However, there were two warrant articles with ties to the project:

  • Property Tax Study Committee: In February, the Selectmen (BOS) appointed the Study Committee, which is charged with examining existing tax abatement/deferral programs, determining unmet needs, investigating other possible programs, and making recommendations to the BOS. Click here to see the slides from Town Meeting.
  • Solar Bylaw: Lincoln first adopted a solar bylaw about a decade ago. Since then, both photovoltaic (PV) technology and the financial arrangements for installing PV panels have changed. Town Meeting voted to amend the current solar bylaw to allow residents, businesses, and the Town to enter into power purchase agreements (PPAs). This was a critical vote for the school project, and it was approved virtually unanimously. To learn more about how the bylaw was changed, visit the FAQ page on the Town website.

This Week’s SBC Meeting: The SBC will meet on Wednesday, March 27th @ 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room. The agenda includes:

  • Review site and floor plans
  • Review exterior elevations
  • Review HVAC systems
  • Review monthly budget update
  • Review updated modulars plan (temporary classrooms)

23 and We…

…Throughout the development of the school project, we have been focused on reaching an energy use target of EUI 23.  What does that mean, how do we get there, and are we getting close to our goal?

First, a refresher, what is EUI?

Energy Use Intensity (EUI) = The amount of energy (kBtu) consumed per square foot of a building. It is calculated by dividing the total amount of energy consumed in 1 year by the number of square feet in the building.

Currently, the school’s EUI is about 65. Why are we trying to get to 23? That is how efficient the building should be in order to be net zero “ready.” Then, the solar PV we put on the roof and over the parking lots will offset the electricity use of the school, making it a net zero building. We are on track to be the first net zero school renovation in the state!

How do we drive down electricity use? There are several main components: 

  • The building envelope: Highly insulated walls and roofs, and energy efficient windows.
  • Mechanical systems: All electric heating and cooling with a heat recovery system (see below to dive deeper into VRF and heat recovery systems).
  • Lighting: An LED lighting system that can gauge and adjust to the amount of natural light.
  • Plug load: How do we use the building? What are our electricity habits? This piece of the puzzle will require all of us who use the building to consciously consider our behaviors.

How are we doing so far? SMMA just ran an energy use model of the building at the Schematic Design phase. As of now, the school has a predicted EUI of 23.39! Energy models will be run again at the end of Design Development and during the Construction Documents phase.

Click here to see the slide deck from the February 13th meeting. It gives an overview of proposed systems and the energy model.

Do we still have your attention? 

What is a VRF system? What is a heat recovery system? Whether or not you are an electrical or mechanical engineer, this technology is pretty cool!

For those interested in the punch line, the goal of these systems is to create a consistent and comfortable indoor environment. They take into account outdoor temperature, solar heat load, and humidity, and can balance out different conditions in different parts of the building.

For those who want to know more…

While the details will be worked out over the coming months, the design team team is proposing some very interesting technologies for air quality, building comfort, and minimal energy usage to achieve our net zero goal.

Traditional heating and cooling systems are usually 100% “on” or “off”. For example, your house may clunk and creak when the boiler fires up, or lights may briefly dim when the A/C kicks on. In contrast, the systems for our new building will have “modulated” or “variable” operation: compressors and fans can run at partial capacity. The resulting system is quieter and more efficient, and can balance heating and cooling needs much more effectively (e.g. one classroom is receiving full sun and another is not).

Ventilation is another issue, as modern buildings are extremely well sealed. The design team is proposing “energy recovery ventilators” (ERV), a type of heat exchanger. ERVs efficiently transfer most of the heat from outgoing stale air to incoming fresh air (or the reverse in the summertime).

In addition, rooms will have sensors to detect occupancy via the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by people. That information is used to optimize air quality (through ventilation) as well as heating and cooling needs.

If Sustainability is Important to You…

…or you just love learning about mechanical and building systems, this is the meeting for you!

SBC Meeting this Wednesday! (February 13th)

7:00pm, Hartwell Multipurpose Room

On the Agenda:

  • Introduce the Commissioning Agent (person who oversees the execution of all the detailed work that must be done to meet our sustainability goals)
  • Review the Owner’s Project Requirements (The “OPR” is the document that lays out general and specific sustainability goals for the project)
  • Review proposed MEP (mechanical, electrical & plumbing) systems
  • Review the progress of the Energy Model (are we meeting our energy use target?)
  • Review updated site plan

More about Sustainability…

On February 1st, representatives from the SBC, design team, Lincoln boards and committees, and Eversource, met to talk about all the aspects of the project that fall under the “sustainability” umbrella: the draft OPR, the negotiation of a Power Purchase Agreement, stormwater treatment, and mechanical systems.  Achieving net zero in a renovation project is a cutting edge concept for public schools in the state, and the message from Eversource was that they recognize our efforts, and are willing to partner with the Town and the design team to support the project in some unprecedented ways. Representatives from Eversource talked the group through the kinds of rebates that may be available to the Town (see the presentation from Eversource here).

Here is a summary of the technical assistance offered by Eversource:

Making Progress…

The Design Development phase is defined by a continuous series of design refinements, feedback, and decisions. At Wednesday’s SBC meeting, the committee reviewed a couple of different roofline options for the Learning Commons, and considered several possible design directions for the pathways and courtyards on both the east and west sides of the new main entrance.

Learning Commons: After reviewing both “gable” roof and “hipped” roof schemes, the SBC voted to direct the design team to continue to develop the gable roof option. The image above shows the latest iteration of the Learning Commons and main entrance – the design will continue to evolve.

Site PlanSMMA presented three variations of the pathways and courtyards adjacent to the main entrance/Learning Commons. The image above shows the general design direction chosen by the SBC. It features courtyards that flank the Learning Commons both to the east (front) and west (back) of the building. The courtyard in front is envisioned as a more public community space, while the courtyard in the back is seen as being more student-centered (or “business in the front, party in the back” as someone vividly described it!) This design, too, will continue to be developed and refined over time.

NOTE: The SBC learned that this was the last time we would be  joined by Samantha Farrell, Landscape Designer, SMMA, who will be moving out of Massachusetts. We want to express our gratitude to Ms. Farrell for her work on the project, and extend our best wishes to her as she embarks on her next adventure!

Exterior Building MaterialsSMMA and EwingCole presented a number of images and ideas for the exterior finishes of the building.  It is proposed that the school remain a primarily brick building with accent materials in selected areas of the building. Click here to see the complete slide deck from the meeting.

Working Group UpdatesThere are several working groups that are addressing specific aspects of the project. This work will then be reviewed and approved by the full SBC.

  • Education Working Group: This is comprised of members of the school’s administrative team and the design team. In December, SMMA met with teams of teachers to discuss specific and detailed needs. This information informs the development of the school’s interior spaces.
  • Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Working Group: This group includes committee and community members who have an interest and/or experience in solar energy contracts. The group is working with a solar energy consultant to understand how best to structure an a PPA that meets our energy generation needs and is economically advantageous. The PPA Group is meeting weekly on Wednesday mornings at 8am in the Hartwell multipurpose room.
  • Sustainability Working Group: This group has multiple tasks: 1) Finalize the draft of the “Owners Project Requirements” (OPR) document that outlines the Town’s goals for the project – energy performance, indoor environment quality, water use and stormwater treatment, etc.; 2) Review and recommend to the SBC specific mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; 3) Interview and recommend to the SBC a “Commissioning Agent” who will be responsible for ensuring that the design and construction are meeting the goals of the OPR.

Upcoming Meetings:

  • PPA Meeting – Wednesday, January 16th, 8:00am, Hartwell multipurpose room.
  • SBC Meeting – Wednesday, January 23rd, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.
  • Sustainability Meeting – Friday, February 1st, 8:00am, Hartwell multipurpose room. This meeting will bring together the design team, relevant town boards, and representatives from Eversource. The goal is to provide an overview of all the components that come under the “sustainability” umbrella, review who is responsible for each piece of the puzzle, and to identify any additional questions or tasks that may need to be addressed.

Meeting Reminder

The SBC’s first meeting of 2019 is tomorrow night (Wednesday, January 9th) at 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room. It is a full agenda!

As a reminder, SBC agendas can always be found by using the link on the left hand side of the www.lincolnsbc.org home page (scroll down a bit), or by going to the School Committee section of the Lincoln Public Schools’ website.

This is a Community Project

Over the past 19 months, the Lincoln School project has been forged by the willingness of residents with a wide range of values, priorities, expertise, opinions, and viewpoints to come together to try to collaboratively solve an incredibly complex problem. The goal of the SBC has been to create a process and a platform for individual ideas to be heard and to give direction to its work. In June, we presented 5 viable ways to move forward, and our community made a group decision, in an unprecedented way, about which project best balanced those priorities and delivered the most value for the investment.

At the end of that Special Town Meeting, an overwhelming majority chose the project known as “L3.” The clarity of the vote was due to the fact that many people, with many ideas, were willing to passionately champion their values while demonstrating their willingness to compromise; finding a balance among multiple needs and interests.

The result is a project that is a reflection of resident values; it is “ours,” as a town, in every sense of the word.

What did it take to get to this point?

When we started this process, many challenged us to go beyond a school that is “safe, warm, and dry” and to focus on transforming the educational environment. They noted that the neighborhood model of classrooms, which supports how our educators teach (with future flexibility), would be easiest to achieve in a new, more compact building – not one with classrooms strung out along a long corridor.

Many residents focused on the opportunity to live up to the green energy goals LIncoln set for itself a decade ago, when the town voted to adopt a fossil fuel reduction standard for its public buildings. They focused our attention on “energy use intensity,” the importance of a well-insulated building, new heating & cooling technologies, and the need to generate electricity on site in order to further reduce our carbon footprint. This would be easiest to achieve with new construction.

Others drew our attention to the deep historical ties the town has to the Ballfield Road site. It was the home of the Lincoln Mohawks baseball team in the first half of the 20th century, and where the town regularly gathered in the grand stands. The Lincoln School itself was designed by two Lincoln-resident modern architects, Lawrence Anderson and Henry Hoover. They helped transform school architecture by providing ample access to natural light, connections to the outdoors, and moveable (dare we say flexible?) furniture that wasn’t bolted to the floor. Many residents saw the important connection of the current building to our town’s history, and wanted to ensure that we re-used as much of it as possible and preserved the integrity of the campus.

The Lincoln School is an important center of the community, and many emphasized its role in our recreational and civic life. They placed a high value on retaining both of our full-sized gyms and the Auditorium.

And everyone wanted to ensure that the project would provide good long-term value for the up-front cost – while being mindful of the immediate impact on the community.

As is quickly apparent, it is not easy to reconcile all of these priorities – but there was a lot of determination! As a result of the creativity of our design team and our committee, and a high level of community participation in the process, we all decided that L3 did the best job of drawing all of those interests together.

On Saturday, we will come together to test that hypothesis.

We know that people will come to the meeting looking at the project through different lenses and their own set of experiences. While we all listen to the presentations and the ensuing debate, the following questions might serve as a framework:

  • What is the impact of our decision on future generations of educators and learners?
  • When we look back in 10 or 20 years, will we have made a wise choice?
  • Have we successfully balanced the values of our community? – Education, environmental stewardship, respect for our history and civic life, and fiscal responsibility?
  • What is the impact of our decision on other Town priorities?

Each of us may answer these questions in different ways. We look forward to a thoughtful and thought-provoking conversation on Saturday.

%d bloggers like this: