Sustainability is a core value of the school, and our learning environments are designed to teach students sustainable behavior.

Many sustainable architectural features in the 2 – 5 community can be observed, interacted with, and even operated by students. Examples include: interior climate control based on centralized atmospheric data; transparent wall or floor cutouts that show structural workings of the buildings; digital dashboards that provide comparative information between buildings and also with other neighborhoods, like Omidyar; water management systems like the rain water cisterns, bioswale and gabion walls.

Punahou is a national leader in green educational building design. The past two Junior School facility projects earned a LEED Gold designation for Case Middle School and LEED Platinum for the Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood. The 2 – 5 community takes this further by being the first net-zero building for energy consumption on the campus, meaning all energy needs are harvested on-site (Omidyar is 93 percent).

Indoor/architectural sustainability features

  • JTouch interactive digital monitors can be used to show video, view websites or as a touch-screen for writing and visual diagrams [1];
  • Digital dashboards provide comparative information about energy and water usage in real time across multiple buildings;
  • Ventilation systems prioritize natural cooling as much as possible, including energy efficient fans and clerestory windows that maximize trade winds [2];
  • Water meter displays in restrooms and refillable water bottle stations quantify the number of plastic water bottles saved;
  • Temperature-sensitive display ports alert students when natural ventilation is preferable to air-conditioning [3];
  • Daylight- and motion-sensor lighting systems automatically adjust brightness for exterior light and shut off when the room is empty to reduce energy consumption [4];
  • Exposed structural elements and cutouts of interior walls and lanai floors make elements like insulation, plumbing and electricity visible and teachable [5].

Outdoor sustainability features

  • Photovoltaic panels support the buildings’ net-zero energy consumption [6];
  • Vegetative “green screens” and light-colored roofs absorb and reflect solar heat and reduce the need to cool buildings [7];
  • A 25,000-square-foot native Hawaiian forest environment with trails and boulders supports an outdoor classroom [8];
  • Numerous plants support Hawaiian Studies curriculum, including kalo, palapalai, pili grass, noni, lonomea, koa, kukui and ‘ulu [8];
  • Backyard garden plots are dedicated to each set of ground-floor classrooms, and a 4,000 square foot community garden is shared by the entire neighborhood [9];
  • Cisterns located outside of each building capture rainwater for gardening [10];
  • Permeable pavers, a gabion wall and bioswale absorb excess runoff – the bioswale also helps to illustrate the interconnected water systems of an ahupua‘a or watershed [11].

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