Cornerspring Montessori School has been celebrated by Efficiency Maine for its new high performance school building in Belfast.

At an open house Feb. 10, Efficiency Maine Business Program Manager Rick Meinking presented the school with a plaque recognizing Cornerspring and its new building for “leadership in energy efficient design and construction.”

Designed and built by Belfast-based architecture and construction firm GO Logic, the new facility incorporates a Passive House-standard building shell with R-50 walls, an R-100 roof, and triple-glazed windows. Roof-mounted photovoltaic panels supply the majority of the building’s electricity.

Decentralized, ductless heat pumps provide heating and cooling, while a fully integrated heat-recovery ventilation system ensures a continuous supply of tempered fresh air.

“The tight building envelope made heat pumps a highly cost-effective solution,” Meinking said. “The Cornerspring project is an excellent demonstration of how these systems can meet the entire heating and cooling load of a building.”

A lighting design that integrates extensive daylighting with high-efficiency LEDs and electronic controls also contributes to a projected total reduction of 20,845 kWh — equivalent to more than $3,000 — in annual electricity use compared with a conventional building.

Cornerspring Head of School Susan Beemer said, “Having an energy efficient building is wonderful for our budget, and it also supports the values of the school, the staff, and the parents.”

Combining contemporary design with traditional forms and local materials, and offering direct access to the outdoors from every classroom, the building also reflects Montessori philosophy, which emphasizes connection with nature.

“And because the ventilation system provides fresh air all day long, we’ve noticed it just feels healthier,” Beemer said. “It’s an amazing building in which to educate and care for children as they learn to care for their environment.”

Founded in Belfast in 2001, Cornerspring Montessori School provides individualized education for children from 18 months to 12 years of age, emphasizing compassion, social responsibility, and lifelong learning.

Efficiency Maine is the independent administrator for energy efficiency programs in Maine.

GO Logic is an integrated architecture and construction firm and an industry leader in the design and construction of advanced Passive House-standard residential, commercial, and institutional buildings.