Cambridge, MA

In 2015, the City of Cambridge committed to a 25-year Net Zero Action Plan, with the goal of transforming the City into a Net Zero community by 2040. The King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex (KOCSUSCC) is one of the City’s first projects to be built under this ambitious mandate. The school and public library anchor the complex on a major urban street and reflects the City’s commitment to sustainable and resilient municipal buildings.

Completed in August 2019, the project is designed as the first Net Zero Emissions and first LEED v4 Platinum school in Massachusetts. The 273,000 sf building includes an elementary school, middle school, preschool, school district administration, public library, public pool, afterschool programs, human services programs, two acres of open space, and a below grade parking garage.

By providing a highly efficient envelope, advanced building systems and a 190 geothermal well field, the complex boasts an EUI of 25. The photo-voltaic array covering 74,070SF of the roof achieves 60% on site power generation with the balance provided by purchased green power. In addition, the project is 100% electric resulting in both a carbon and emissions free building. KOCSUSCC is submitting for LEED V4 Platinum.

Historically, Net Zero buildings have been relatively small compared to the 273,000 sf KO/CSUS and Community Complex due to the limitation of current on-site power generating technologies. The project team wrestled with the size, public bid process, multiple users, long hours of operation, and an engaged citizenry. Now as the building completes its first year in operation, join the team to discuss lessons learned in design, public bid, construction and user engagement and operations.