Project FROG, a US-based manufacturer of smart building systems, will start construction on a new energy-neutral Center for Science and Global Citizenship at the Watkinson School in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 27, 2009. The building will be the first of its kind in New England, and marks the company’s first zero-net energy solution built in a cold climate. The Watkinson project demonstrates the possibilities for energy-efficient, technologically enhanced classrooms of the future.

John Bracker, Watkinson’s head of school, announced, “The Center for Science and Global Citizenship represents an important step in our efforts to challenge the traditional orthodoxy of how a building comes together, the role it can play in teaching about sustainability and the curriculum material at hand. Just imagine what’s possible when a building is as smart and dynamic as the students and faculty who live in it.”

Incorporating the ideal learning environment into the greenest, most sustainable commercial building solution available, the 4,000 square foot state-of-the-art science center will feature 75 percent energy-demand reduction, abundant natural light and glare control, superior air quality, fungible user technology, microclimate customization and advanced climate controls in an easy to configure package. Constructed of mainly of recyclable materials, the Center will generate more energy within its footprint than is required to operate its systems. To support the linked but diverse curricula, the three Center for Science and Global Citizenship classrooms will be adaptable to lecture, seminars, and lab-style instruction.

Every aspect of this new Center for Science and Global Citizenship will be a teaching tool. With design features that include a living roof, photovoltaic panels, and advanced sensors, the Center will provide extraordinary teaching and learning opportunities for members of Watkinson’s community, and establish a new criterion for smart, environmentally responsible learning environments.

“Watkinson’s vision and commitment to sustainability is inspiring,” said Mark Miller, AIA, LEED AP, founder and chief executive officer of Project FROG. “We’re very excited that New England’s first Project FROG solution is for such a prescient and dynamic academic partner. Having tackled energy performance in a range of tropical and western US climates, we are pleased to demonstrate Project FROG’s versatility and performance in the cold and snow as well as the heat and humidity of this region.”