The Conway School’s new long-term home – the historic brick Coach House on Village Hill – was built in 1900 as part of the former Northampton State Hospital. The Conway School worked with contractor DA Sullivan to design a school that meets Conway’s unique learning and teaching needs. At the same time, Conway and DA Sullivan sought to renovate the building to promote the greatest energy efficiency and durability for the new retrofit by:
- Consulting with Building Science Corporation to provide state-of-the-art recommendations for historic brick building energy retrofits.
- Insulating the interior of the brick structure to increase its energy efficiency, mindful of durability and moisture management.
- Repairing and protecting the exterior historic brick facade.
- Providing dedicated Energy Recovery Ventilation system to provide continuous fresh air to inhabitants while preheating and pre-cooling outdoor air to save energy.
- Heating and cooling the building with several air source heat pumps for the greatest state-of-the-art energy efficiency.
- Providing natural light in every room to reduce the need for electric lights during the day.
- Installing materials, paints, stains, glues, carpets, and finishes that were vetted to have low- or no-volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions to maintain healthy air quality throughout the building.
- Installing low-flow dual-flush toilets to save water.
The Coach House site also has a permeable asphalt parking lot, which helps to intercept stormwater before it enters the city stormwater system.
The landscape is an ongoing student laboratory to establish and maintain pollinator gardens. We are working towards a low- or no-mow environment to minimize the use of fossil fuels in its maintenance.
On our campus we:
- Make every effort to save electricity, water, and food waste.
- Ensure that trash, recycling, and compost are collected by human power (bicycles).
- Purchase biodegradable and non-toxic cleaning supplies when possible.
- Buy local, organic (or pesticide-free), and fair-trade foods whenever possible.
- Purchase sustainably-produced office supplies whenever possible.
- Allow staff to flex their hours so that they can avoid traffic and transit congestion insofar as possible, given the requirements of their daily job responsibilities.
- Subsidize job-related professional and educational development programs for all staff as schedules and budgets permit.
At top: L: Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel); Center: Ilex verticillata (winterberry); R: Students installed plugs of the perennial grass Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) on a slope bordering the porous parking lot this fall. (Photos: Kate Cholakis ’11)