Newton Conover Middle School

Newton, NC

Project Summary

A 1990’s school prototype that was updated to include sustainability features targeting LEED Platinum certification.

Project Highlights

  • Efficient lighting
  • Dedicated Outside Air systems
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures
  • Photovoltaic roof system
  • Solar thermal water heating
  • LEED Platinum Certified


This project resulted from an adaptation of a prototype school created by Optima and Little Diversified Architectural Consulting in the late 1990s. The prototype’s design was updated here to include sustainability features, and to target a LEED for Schools (version 2007) Platinum certification. The owner wanted the building to look and operate like the prototype school. Without changing the appearance of the lights, the systems were upgraded to an efficient T5 strategy, including full range dimming and ethernet-based lighting control. The HVAC system remains a 4-pipe fan coil unit system, but boilers were upgraded to 94% efficient condensing machines. Dedicated Outside Air systems were introduced to handle high ventilation airflows, separate latent and sensible building loads, and provide low load building conditioning, beating the ASHRAE model by more than 30%. Low-flow dishwashers, shower heads, faucets, lavatories, urinals and water closets were used in the building to reduce domestic water consumption and domestic hot water generation demands. A photovoltaic system on the building’s flat roofs, with solar thermal water heating, provides on-site renewable energy.