Modular Building Institute

Harvard Yard Childcare Center

(Click an image below to see enlargement)
Main Category:
Green Building Design
Triumph Modular
Commercial Structures Corp.
12 x 60 x 12
Gross Size of Project:

Award Criteria

  1. Thermal Comfort Strategy
    The high-efficiency Bard heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) mechanical systems use sensors and electronic controls to minimize energy use while optimizing temperature and fresh outside air as the number of people and activity increase in a room. These carbon dioxide monitors and other occupancy sensors “learn” patterns of activity and optimize air conditioning settings to conserve energy and maintain comfortable levels appropriate to daily cycles of use. Roof, wall and floor assemblies use high recycled content insulation with higher than code R-values. Doors, windows and skylights are all energy-efficient units with solar shading and operable screens to maximize wanted daylight and screen unwanted solar gain in summer. Operable windows are placed for maximum cross ventilation, and HVAC system includes fresh air ventilation mode with low energy draw.
  2. Indoor Air Quality Strategy
    Air quality is maintained with non-toxic construction materials, finish surfaces and paints containing low levels or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Factory construction in a weather-protected facility avoided exposure of materials and systems to rain and mildew during the construction process, minimizing the long-term potential for mildew or indoor air-quality degeneration. Natural ventilation is provided with monitored fresh air intake in the mechanical system and with operable windows for fresh air in nice weather, while high insulation values, quality windows and careful weatherization eliminate drafts and minimize mechanical conditioning in hot or cold weather.
  3. Daylighting Strategy
    Generous windows and solar tube skylights provide daylight in all rooms. To optimize day light levels, the windows are shaded from direct sun with exterior aluminum sunshade louvers and solar tubes are fitted with operable shades. Coordinated sensors and electronic control of the lighting system turn off lights when there is no activity in a room. The electronic control system is designed for future implementation of light dimmers controlled by actual daylight levels in the room, so that when the sun brightens, lights will automatically dim.
  4. Acoustic Strategy
    Acoustical dampening is essential to interior experience, and children’s ability to learn and distinguish spoken language is especially affected by background sound levels and surface echo. This building has advanced mechanical systems that have been tested as 20 to 35 times quieter than traditional systems. Floor, wall and ceiling systems and insulation levels are designed to limit sound transfer from the exterior and between rooms and to significantly dampen sound reverberation within rooms. Acoustical ceiling tile and full height to roof structure interior partition walls reduce sound transfer and sound reverberation within and between rooms. Carpet in common areas, corridors and play spaces reduce sound levels in the building, which are further absorbed by acoustical carpet wall panels incorporated with window panels and window seat alcoves.
  5. Energy Efficiency Strategy
    Wherever possible, high-recycled materials are used, including gypsum wallboard, cabinet systems, acoustical ceiling tile, linoleum floor tile; and carpet tile made from recycled plastics and designed for return to its factory for 100% future recycling. Wood structural and finish components are either engineered composite wood from rapidly renewable sources or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) products. Microstrand Wheat Board contains no toxins and is made from agricultural waste products left over from the harvesting of edible grains is used as a wall-surfacing panel in all areas not requiring special fire-resistance paneling. Factory-built modular, re-locatable construction, with its inherently low waste and reduced embodied energy, is itself a sustainable building practice. This green, modular school building was built sustainably and economically to serve its current Harvard users, and will be relocated to another site to be enjoyed again by future users. Re-Use, Reduce, Recycle.
  6. Architectural Excellence
    Maintaining the industry standard proportions and system logic dictated by transportation law and factory constraints, this building still revolutionizes design and construction quality in terms of ceiling height, acoustics, indoor thermal comfort, indoor air quality, natural light and ventilation, low carbon footprint, healthy and sustainable materials and equipment, and significantly reduced energy use. Surfaces, materials and colors throughout the space are selected not only for health, sustainability, functionality and hygienic ease of maintenance, but also to provide vibrancy, fun and creative inspiration for the children. The building optimally used its limited parking-lot site to create enhanced quality outdoor campus space while using extensive solar and computer fluid dynamic wind studies to minimize impact on the neighboring biology greenhouse complex while optimizing sun and wind shading for this building, its entries and communal outdoor space.
  7. Economic Practicality
    Harvard University commissioned a portable building to accommodate children from campus childcare facilities that are undergoing permanent renovation. Initially expecting to use modular buildings typically used, the project transformed into an ambitious prototyping project to produce a new standard for highly flexible, high quality, sustainable modular buildings that could compete financially with the energy intensive and often unhealthy mass market products. To accomplish these ambitious goals within a budget that could be no higher than competing bids, the building components are based as closely as possible to the conventional sizes, configurations and fabrication systems typical to the modular industry. Standard materials and equipment were replaced with healthier, more sustainable and less energy intensive alternatives wherever this could be achieved within reasonable cost constraints. The result is a simple, cost-effective building system of very high quality.
  8. Other
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