About the Energy Lab

We are in a time of global ecological overshoot where humanity is using more resources than the biosphere can regenerate.  The concept for an Energy Lab was developed during a “Go Green” workshop in May 2007.  Through collaboration and with financial support in place, the result is this 6,112 square foot facility, which features indoor and outdoor classroom areas, conference and project rooms, a full workshop, and a wealth of educational learning tools to facilitate a 21st century learning environment. 

Take the tour (Click on one of the images below)

The building is sited on 216 acres of land for fieldwork on biofuels (sugar cane and Jatropha) and other energy projects.  On the terraces, there is restoration work being done on local plants and trees in an attempt to study and learn about the biodiversity of the island before and after humans lived here.  As traditional native Hawaiian crops, kalo (taro) and 'uala (sweet potato) are being harvested on the terrace fields.

Terraces - The building is sited on 216 acres of land for fieldwork on biofuels (sugar cane and Jatropha) and other energy projects.  On the terraces, there is restoration work being done on local plants and trees in an attempt to study and learn about the biodiversity of the island before and after humans lived here.  As traditional native Hawaiian crops, kalo (taro) and 'uala (sweet potato) are being harvested on the terrace fields. 

Biofuels consisting of sugarcane and Jatropha will soon be grown on the terraces in the background to provide the source of fuel for our Energy Lab's "mule" transportation vehicle.

Biofuel Field Projects - Biofuels consisting of sugarcane and Jatropha will soon be grown on the terraces in the background to provide the source of fuel for our Energy Lab's "mule" transportation vehicle.

A traditional “Tropical 3 Pitch Roof” design features a shaded lanai facing South, which produces a cool ground.  Then convection draws the hot air out of the peaked roof and brings the cooler air into the living spaces.  HPA’s Energy Lab building resonates with the Tropical 3 Pitch Roof design.  The mauka (mountainside) winds travel over the roof creating an augmented vacuum.  This vacuum in the broken peak is even more effective than the original 3 pitch roof design.

Tropical 3 Pitch Roof - A traditional “Tropical 3 Pitch Roof” design features a shaded lanai facing South, which produces a cool ground.  Then convection draws the hot air out of the peaked roof and brings the cooler air into the living spaces.  HPA’s Energy Lab building resonates with the Tropical 3 Pitch Roof design.  The mauka (mountainside) winds travel over the roof creating an augmented vacuum.  This vacuum in the broken peak is even more effective than the original 3 pitch roof design.

The local lava rocks in this poured concrete wall resonate to a similar wall in the HPA Chapel.  The center stone above the midline in the front wall is from the donor’s ranch.

 Lava Rock Walls - The local lava rocks in this poured concrete wall resonate to a similar wall in the HPA Chapel.  The center stone above the midline in the front wall is from the donor’s ranch. 

This room features large screen television monitors that can be used to communicate through video teleconferencing technology with up to eight separate groups at once.  An interactive portable Smartboard also provides another tool for implementing educational technology into learning.

Conference Room - This room features large screen television monitors that can be used to communicate through video teleconferencing technology with up to eight separate groups at once.  An interactive portable Smartboard also provides another tool for implementing educational technology into learning.

Manual window louvers are featured in each room along the backside of the building. This allows the mauka (mountainside) winds to come through and ventilate the entire Energy Lab.

Window Louvers - Manual window louvers are featured in each room along the backside of the building. This allows the mauka (mountainside) winds to come through and ventilate the entire Energy Lab.

These sensors are located in all areas of the building.  Low levels of carbon dioxide are necessary for optimum learning.  When carbon dioxide levels reach 150 percent over normal levels, room louvers automatically open until normal levels are reached again.

Carbon Dioxide Sensors - These sensors are located in all areas of the building.  Low levels of carbon dioxide are necessary for optimum learning.  When carbon dioxide levels reach 150 percent over normal levels, room louvers automatically open until normal levels are reached again.

 Students use this room to collaborate and brainstorm ideas together.  The sliding door in the middle of the room creates smaller and larger amounts of space as needed. Each room is equipped for videoconferencing, media and stereo sound, as well as a computer for student work. This room is cooled by a passive cooling system, which radiates heat out to space at night using the copper panels on the roof, storing this cool water in a 3,8000 gallon tank below the deck.

Project Room - Students use this room to collaborate and brainstorm ideas together.  The sliding door in the middle of the room creates smaller and larger amounts of space as needed. Each room is equipped for videoconferencing, media and stereo sound, as well as a computer for student work. This room is cooled by a passive cooling system, which radiates heat out to space at night using the copper panels on the roof, storing this cool water in a 3,8000 gallon tank below the deck.

The bathroom facilities in the Energy Lab have been specially equipped with dual flush toilets to conserve water.

Dual Flush Toilets - The bathroom facilities in the Energy Lab have been specially equipped with dual flush toilets to conserve water.

This is the control room for the building.  Various computer monitors display the lab’s up-to-date alternative energy input and output. Information from all over the HPA campus is integrated here to develop a comprehensive picture of energy use and conservation. Meteorological and seismic data are also gathered directly on site, to enable students to study the cause and effect nature of the various passive “green” building operations, such as cooling, heating and ventilation. Carbon dioxide sensors are also in use.

Monitoring Room - This is the control room for the building.  Various computer monitors display the lab’s up-to-date alternative energy input and output. Information from all over the HPA campus is integrated here to develop a comprehensive picture of energy use and conservation. Meteorological and seismic data are also gathered directly on site, to enable students to study the cause and effect nature of the various passive “green” building operations, such as cooling, heating and ventilation. Carbon dioxide sensors are also in use. 

 Featured on this display monitor is an interactive floor plan of the entire building.  Its touch screen capabilities allow you to control features like turning all the lights and fans on and off.  On the monitor we are also able to see our water tank levels, flows and temperatures.  The control system allows us to have a central viewing location for all the building’s sensors and resources.

Lab Control System Monitor - Featured on this display monitor is an interactive floor plan of the entire building.  Its touch screen capabilities allow you to control features like turning all the lights and fans on and off.  On the monitor we are also able to see our water tank levels, flows and temperatures.  The control system allows us to have a central viewing location for all the building’s sensors and resources.

 The idea of this “one room schoolhouse” comes with an open floor plan.  The 3 large rotating television monitors mounted high in the center of the room allow students to see screen images wherever they are sitting in the room, while seeing the speaker face to face. The floor has power and data outlets every 3 feet, so teachers have flexibility on table arrangement. An integrated AppleTV system enables teachers to view podcasts, videos, photos and other media stored on our local server, as well as live video online or via cable TV.

The Main Hall - The idea of this “one room schoolhouse” comes with an open floor plan.  The 3 large rotating television monitors mounted high in the center of the room allow students to see screen images wherever they are sitting in the room, while seeing the speaker face to face. The floor has power and data outlets every 3 feet, so teachers have flexibility on table arrangement. An integrated AppleTV system enables teachers to view podcasts, videos, photos and other media stored on our local server, as well as live video online or via cable TV.

Each HPA grade level has their own dedicated shelf to house their individual projects and classroom materials used when in the lab.  The sliding ladder allows for easy access to all shelf levels.

Student Project Shelf - Each HPA grade level has their own dedicated shelf to house their individual projects and classroom materials used when in the lab.  The sliding ladder allows for easy access to all shelf levels. 

The ‘X’ steel frame like the one lined up against this wall shows the strong constructional design of the building and provides side-to-side stability, which makes the building resilient to earthquakes, storms and wind.  The Energy Lab is also in the process of being listed as a Community Emergency Response Team site (CERT) – a place where professional responders can gather in the event of a major disaster to proceed with action.

Building Support - The ‘X’ steel frame like the one lined up against this wall shows the strong constructional design of the building and provides side-to-side stability, which makes the building resilient to earthquakes, storms and wind.  The Energy Lab is also in the process of being listed as a Community Emergency Response Team site (CERT) – a place where professional responders can gather in the event of a major disaster to proceed with action. 

This workshop is used for the physical construction phase of projects.  It has 3 large workbenches made from the leftover wooden beam structures on the roof seen outside the deck doors.  The floor is made of Masonite pressboard that can be easily replaced and enables students to alter the workshop to their needs like a stage floor in an auditorium.

Workshop - This workshop is used for the physical construction phase of projects.  It has 3 large workbenches made from the leftover wooden beam structures on the roof seen outside the deck doors.  The floor is made of Masonite pressboard that can be easily replaced and enables students to alter the workshop to their needs like a stage floor in an auditorium.

There are 3 different types of solar panels in place on the roof and students are able to monitor the energy efficiency of each type in the monitoring lab.  These small square shaped solar panels are “bifacial” and can receive solar power from both sides of its panels.  They have 22% efficiency instead of the standard 14%.  Currently, we have 27 kW of photovoltaic panels on the roof.

Solar Panels - There are 3 different types of solar panels in place on the roof and students are able to monitor the energy efficiency of each type in the monitoring lab.  These small square shaped solar panels are “bifacial” and can receive solar power from both sides of its panels.  They have 22% efficiency instead of the standard 14%.  Currently, we have 27 kW of photovoltaic panels on the roof. 

These longer shaped solar panels are also featured in the Energy Lab and are more typical of what you normally see installed on the roofs of regular houses.

Long Solar Panels - These longer shaped solar panels are also featured in the Energy Lab and are more typical of what you normally see installed on the roofs of regular houses. 

All the wood in the building including the sliding door shades is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified or from salvaged sources.

Forest Stewardship Certified Wood -  All the wood in the building including the sliding door shades is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified or from salvaged sources.

 Leftover construction wood was made into benches in the workshop and woodchips for the landscaping.  We recycled 99.7% of all materials brought on-site.

Recycling Wood -  Leftover construction wood was made into benches in the workshop and woodchips for the landscaping.  We recycled 99.7% of all materials brought on-site. 

At the bottom of the eastside staircase is the radiant cooling system.  This insulated water tank holds water that is chilled every evening by pumping it up to the panels on the roof that then radiate out to space.

Radiant Cooling System Tank - At the bottom of the eastside staircase is the radiant cooling system.  This insulated water tank holds water that is chilled every evening by pumping it up to the panels on the roof that then radiate out to space. 

On the bottom of the westside staircase is the freshwater catchment system tank that collects water off hte 6,000 square foot roof.  For every inch of rain that falls on the roof, we capture 3,800 gallons of water.   There are sonar sensors in each tank that measure the water levels down to the thickness of a sheet of paper or one quart.  This is important because the biggest issue in sustainable building is waste of productivity, electricity and water.  Water levels, flows and temperatures are all electronically monitored and can be seen in the monitoring lab and lab control system screen on the first floor.

Freshwater Catchment System Tank - On the bottom of the westside staircase is the freshwater catchment system tank that collects water off hte 6,000 square foot roof.  For every inch of rain that falls on the roof, we capture 3,800 gallons of water. 

There are sonar sensors in each tank that measure the water levels down to the thickness of a sheet of paper or one quart.  This is important because the biggest issue in sustainable building is waste of productivity, electricity and water.  Water levels, flows and temperatures are all electronically monitored and can be seen in the monitoring lab and lab control system screen on the first floor.

Welcome to “The Batcave”!  Students can use this additional workshop space to store and work on their projects such as the “iBoat”.  The “iBoat” was designed by a former student to track honu (Hawaiian sea turtles) as well as monitor pollution and offshore run off.  It is unique in that it is web-enabled, and can be steered and monitored over the web anywhere in the world.  The “iBoat” features sonar, GPS and a full sweep of chemical sensors.

Basement Workshop - Welcome to “The Batcave”!  Students can use this additional workshop space to store and work on their projects such as the “iBoat”.  The “iBoat” was designed by a former student to track honu (Hawaiian sea turtles) as well as monitor pollution and offshore run off.  It is unique in that it is web-enabled, and can be steered and monitored over the web anywhere in the world.  The “iBoat” features sonar, GPS and a full sweep of chemical sensors. 

Some of the 5 miles of steel piping used in the building for sensors and data can be seen hanging from roof of the basement workshop. Steel is used because polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is not allowed in the building with accordance to the LEED certifications we are striving to obtain.

Steel Piping - Some of the 5 miles of steel piping used in the building for sensors and data can be seen hanging from roof of the basement workshop. Steel is used because polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is not allowed in the building with accordance to the LEED certifications we are striving to obtain.  

This undercover classroom learning area is designed to integrate the learning experience into real life. The large tree trunk post holding up part of the roof is a native ohia tree that fell in the woods of Mauna Kea.

 Outdoor Classroom - This undercover classroom learning area is designed to integrate the learning experience into real life. The large tree trunk post holding up part of the roof is a native ohia tree that fell in the woods of Mauna Kea.

Look closely at the detailed etching on the top row of the concrete seated bench on the north side.  It is a profile of the Kohala Mountain range located at the back of the energy lab.  Local residents of Waimea will recognize the large pu’u (hill) called “Buster Brown” or “Hoku’ula” at the very right hand side of the etching.

Outdoor Classroom Seated Bench - Look closely at the detailed etching on the top row of the concrete seated bench on the north side.  It is a profile of the Kohala Mountain range located at the back of the energy lab.  Local residents of Waimea will recognize the large pu’u (hill) called “Buster Brown” or “Hoku’ula” at the very right hand side of the etching.

The sky window opening in the roof of the outdoor classroom shows you how thick the roof is.  It features an insulation made of soy which is so effective that even on the sunniest of days, the inside of the roof is as cool as the floor of the building.

Insulated Roof - The sky window opening in the roof of the outdoor classroom shows you how thick the roof is.  It features an insulation made of soy which is so effective that even on the sunniest of days, the inside of the roof is as cool as the floor of the building.

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