Conceived as a high school science building dedicated to the study of alternative energy, the new Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy functions as a zero-net-energy, fully sustainable building. The project’s fundamental goal is that of educating the next generation of students in the understanding of environmentally conscious, sustainable living systems. The building’s donor, the founder of a German alternative energy corporation, believes that only through generational education will we truly achieve improved patterns of sustainability. It was his initiative that challenged the design team to develop a green science building, insisting that it be powered principally by alternative means. The design team and Hawaii Prep’s Science Dept. Head have furthered these goals, expanding the mission to include a great number of building systems that employ sun, water and wind. The project targeted, and subsequently achieved, LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certification. Completed in January 2010, the Energy Lab today strives as a living laboratory, furthering its educational goals as a functioning example of sustainability. The Energy Lab was developed in response to the science curriculum it houses. From small project rooms, to a large research center, to a laboratory, spaces were designed to encourage student discovery, exploration and experimentation. The building’s configuration facilitates scientific study both indoors and out, linking interior spaces with the surrounding landscape. Students are surrounded by the systems that they study, and constantly reminded of their methods. Hawaii Prep’s Energy Lab offers a continuous sustainable ‘teaching moment’.

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