Aspen Middle School
community expected the new school to be at
least LEED certi;able. ;e district turned to
my ;rm, Hu;on Architecture Studio, to lead
the e;ort, capitalizing on 30 years of experience and insight designing sustainable schools
In collaboration with Aspen-based Studio
B Architects, Hu;on Architecture Studio led
an analysis of existing buildings, utility costs,
site, tra;c, topography and potential construction phasing on an already crowded campus.
;e result was programming and design that
re;ected the community’s core values: academic excellence, appreciation for the arts, outdoor education and environmentalism. Later
that year, the voters of Aspen approved a $33
million bond issue for major improvements at
the district’s K– 12 campus. ;e largest portion
was dedicated to the design and construction
of a replacement middle school for grades 5–8.
Voter approval was largely based on a commitment from the district and the design team to
reduce energy costs by half from the old structure and to implement as many sustainable
strategies as the budget would allow.
Aspen Middle School is the ;rst school in
Colorado to receive LEED-NC (LEED for New
Construction) Gold certi;cation. Designers
achieved this through sustainable strategies
including daylighting, high-performance
glazing, transpired solar wall and sophisticated lighting controls.
● LEED-NC Gold certified
● 111,000-square-foot ( 10,300-square-
meter) middle school for grades 5–8
● $24.5 million budget, including a
$250,000 grant from the Community
Office for Resource Efficiency
● Sustainable features include daylighting, transpired solar wall, lighting controls, waterless urinals and dual-flush
● Infrastructure in place for 45-kilowatt
photovoltaic system to be installed
● Designed to offset 1 million pounds
(450 metric tons) of greenhouse gases
annually compared to a new code-compliant building of similar size
● After one year, utility bills less than half
that of the former building.
● First-year performance data at solar
● Project team includes Hutton Architec-
ture Studio and Studio B Architects
● Design and construction conducted
Slash Energy Demand
In an e;ort to receive the highest LEED rating possible, the architectural team approached
emissions from tra;c and buildings in Aspen.
So, when the Aspen School District sought
assistance for planning its bond election that
same year, it was clear that designing buildings to meet those new goals was imperative.
In particular, this environmentally aware
Copyright © 2009 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
Aspen Middle School’s sustainable features contribute to achievement of elusive LEED points
for daylight in 75 percent of spaces. They result
in stunning views from 90 percent of the building’s spaces.
PHOTO © FRED J. FUHRMEIS TER, TIME FRAME IMAGES