Pegasus School is the first primary school in the greater Christchurch region to fully embrace the innovative learning environment concept. The school design is based on learning communities, which are the equivalent of three classrooms. These communities are set up in pairs with shared resource and more specialised break out spaces between.
There is a well-connected central administration facility, with the Library/Student commons space linked through the entry atrium with large sliding doors to the hall, this provides a multifunctional school and community space. Initially the school will have a student roll of 450 and a floor area of approximately 2950 m2. A future phase of expansion will increase the roll to 600 students.
The buildings use a robust and durable material palate selected for long term life cycle benefits such as Brick veneer, pre-cast concrete, and cedar weatherboards. With wider plans than more traditional classrooms the building form includes a continuous clearstory window to provide good daylight penetration and passive stack / cross flow ventilation.
Pegasus Primary School is a pilot project for stretching out sustainable initiatives within schools, and as such will help inform the Ministry in their future investment decisions. The Ministry of Education engaged with the combined architect and engineer proposal to consider Net Zero Energy design goals following the project’s sustainability workshop. Net Zero means, on an annual basis the building will collect or generate enough energy to meet its day to day operating needs.
Improvements to the ‘envelope’ such as thicker insulation, floor slab edge insulation, better glazing with excellent daylight harvesting and a degree of airtightness have all contributed towards reducing energy from using 60kwhs/m2/year (Green Star 5 target) to 36kwh/m2/year, a 40% reduction in modelled energy use.
The building was completed in April 2014 and is fitted with 560m2 of solar electric panels to generate the school's electricity. Feeding five high-performance, low-maintenance closed-loop drain-back solar hot water systems, the
electricity captured serves utility/ toilet clusters and efficient air sourced heat pumps for underfloor heating. The efficient building savings and the solar panels together generate about $28,000 of power a year (at 18c/kwh). When the benefits of an improved indoor environment are included (from the natural ventilation strategies and underfloor heating) the payback for the efficiencies is about 9 years, and reduces carbon emissions of the school by nearly a 100 tonnes/year CO2(e).
The creation of a Net Zero Energy school will serve to educate young people, helping them to see the possibilities of a different world; where buildings are super-efficient and capable of meeting their own energy requirements while still providing a comfortable and inspiring learning environment. These children will have a new paradigm of sustainability and understanding from attending Pegasus. There is pride in being cutting edge and creating a powerful identity for a school.