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 ;
- 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 ;
- 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 ;
- Daylight- and motion-sensor lighting systems automatically adjust brightness for exterior light and shut off when the room is empty to reduce energy consumption ;
- Exposed structural elements and cutouts of interior walls and lanai floors make elements like insulation, plumbing and electricity visible and teachable .
Outdoor sustainability features
- Photovoltaic panels support the buildings’ net-zero energy consumption ;
- Vegetative “green screens” and light-colored roofs absorb and reflect solar heat and reduce the need to cool buildings ;
- A 25,000-square-foot native Hawaiian forest environment with trails and boulders supports an outdoor classroom ;
- Numerous plants support Hawaiian Studies curriculum, including kalo, palapalai, pili grass, noni, lonomea, koa, kukui and ‘ulu ;
- 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 ;
- Cisterns located outside of each building capture rainwater for gardening ;
- 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 .