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When school officials need more classroom space in a hurry, the environment may be the last thing on their minds. With the new SmartSpace Classroom – the nation’s first environmentally-friendly Modular classroom – schools don’t have to sacrifice sustainability to get new classroom space fast. Created by Cliff Cort, President of Triumph SmartSpace of Littleton, Massachusetts, the classroom can be installed in as little as five days.

SmartSpace is loaded with features to reduce energy use – and a school district’s utility bills. The classroom includes a quiet, two-stage heating and cooling system, which is far more efficient than standard wall units, double-paned low-e windows, and a highly-insulated building envelope. It also features a reflective roof to cut air-conditioning costs, sun-tunnel skylights, and smart lighting sensors, which automatically dim the lights when the sun provides enough natural light, and turns them off when people leave. The result is a building which can deliver up to 50 percent energy savings over normal cost, according to the Harvard, Massachusetts-based Hickory Consortium, a sustainable building consultancy.

Kids Perform Better
SmartSpace not only cuts schools’ energy consumption, it’s better for kids. Skylights and ample windows help improve both mood and performance. Research has shown that children in classrooms with lots of natural daylight have fewer absences and perform up to 26 percent better on standardized tests. And SmartSpace is built with kid’s health in mind. The classroom is finished with low VOC, formaldehyde-free paints and coatings, minimizing indoor air pollution from off-gassing. Another formaldehyde-free product, Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), covers the interior walls. MDF is made from recovered wood fiber, helping to reduce deforestation. SmartSpace is also designed to minimize children’s exposure to mold: the building’s frame is made from cellulose-free recycled steel, and the structure’s continuous blanket of insulation helps keep mold from taking root in the walls.

As one of the first green modular school building in the country, SmartSpace protects the health of the environment, children and teachers, and school’s budgets. It can serve as a teaching tool as well, giving kids a glimpse into how their immediate environment can have a positive effect on the world at large.

The first SmartSpace classroom was installed at the Carroll School in Lincoln, Massachusetts, in December 2006. SmartSpace is available from Triumph Leasing Corp.

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