- Project Willow Creek Elementary School
- Location Fleetwood, Pennsylvania
- Type of Precast CarbonCast High Performance Insulated Wall Panels
- Project Size 108,000 sq. ft.
- Architect AEM Architects, Inc.
- Precaster High Concrete Group LLC
Owners find value in thermally efficient precast
In designing the new, two-story, 108,000 sq. ft. Willow Creek Elementary School, Fleetwood Area School District in Eastern Pennsylvania sought energy-efficient building materials that didn’t compromise durability or aesthetics. The district was interested in a green building solution with performance benefits to replace an existing and outdated block-and brick structure.
Thermally efficient CarbonCast® High Performance Insulated Wall Panels used for the façade provide an R-value of 16. The panels incorporate three inches of extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam as continuous insulation (c.i.) sandwiched between the 3” exterior and 4” interior concrete wythes. C-GRID® carbon fiber grid was used as a shear connector between the two wythes. The high-strength carbon fiber grid helps the panels offer full composite action while its negligible thermal conductivity prevents thermal transfer through the panel to cut energy costs.
Said project architect Justin H. Istenes of AEM Architects, Inc., “These concrete mass walls provide continuous insulation because the wythe connectors minimize potential energy loss.”
The design also preserved usable floor space for students because load-bearing panels eliminated the need for perimeter columns on construction of 44 regular and specialty classrooms, a gymnasium and library. In addition to the precast facade, floors are precast slab on grade and Hollowcore plank on the second floor. The roof is TPO on steel deck over steel joists.
Aesthetically, thin brick masonry is offset by buff-pigmented precast with cut reveals on the panel faces and a light sandblast finish. Similarly, off-white block paint on the interior provides the learning environment with a sense of sophistication.
“Precast is built to last,” said Istenes. “The owners were satisfied they were getting better value with precast insulated wall panels.”
CarbonCast High Performance Insulated Wall Panels were manufactured by AltusGroup member, High Concrete Group LLC. The school opened to about 700 students at the start of 2009-10 academic year.