Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory


The Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s K-12 campus provides students with a 7000ft², state of the art science facility dedicated to the study of alternative technology.

Our client’s fundamental goal was to create a world class energy research center that gives students first hand experience of on site energy generation, and demonstrates the value of living sustainably.


As sustainability consultants, Buro Happold was tasked with developing highly energy-efficient systems that could support the specialized needs of a science laboratory using only renewable resources. In addition, our client wanted to achieve LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge criteria.

A 7000ft², state of the art science facility dedicated to the study of alternative technology.


Our engineers devised a passive lighting strategy that uses natural daylight to illuminate interior spaces as much as possible. Within this, we incorporated a sliding shutter system that allows daylight in but minimizes unwanted heat gain, helping reduce the energy requirements of the Energy Lab to only 114 kW per month.

We also installed a 27 kW photovoltaic array on the roof of the building that generated 295 kW electricity in its first year of use. This is connected to the national grid so that the excess energy it creates can be distributed for use around the rest of the campus. On average, this has lowered the Academy’s energy bills by $10,000 each year.

By liaising closely with operations staff at the Academy, our engineers were also able to design an innovative building automation system that continuously logs and monitors data in occupied zones and reacts by optimizing the Energy Lab’s performance through its energy systems.

Hawaii Preparatory Academy
We harnessed solar power in a PV array that generates energy for the whole campus, but minimized negative impact with a sliding shutter system. Image: Matthew Millman Photography


On completion, the Energy Lab fulfilled both our client’s main aims. It achieved LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certification, and has also provided students with a beautiful facility that over 90% say they enjoy working in and feel inspired by.

Hawaii Preparatory Academy
The project met LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge criteria, and our solutions reduced the Academy’s energy bills by $10,000 per year. Image: Matthew Millman Photography

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