Sarah Goode STEM Academy High School

Public Building Commission of Chicago

Cotter is the sustainability manager as part of a capital development program with the Public Building Commission of Chicago, which includes 62 LEED-certified buildings to date, with more in progress. The Sarah Goode STEM Academy High School, a new construction project, was built targeting LEED Silver certification but through collaboration and integrated design efforts, it achieved LEED Platinum without exceeding budget.

The project reclaimed, remediated, and repurposed a vacant industrial brownfield property owned by the City of Chicago.

Sustainable features include an innovative mechanical system using off-the-shelf parts (including a dedicated outside air ground source heat pump with enthalpy exchange) and utilizing 170 geo-exchange wells and solar thermal panels. The site features a vegetated roof with bird habitat, a sculptural water harvest system, and a cistern to capture rainwater and irrigate raised garden plots.

The school will return energy savings in excess of what was modeled and it also maintained a similar per-square-foot cost as the “design standards” high school built during the same time.



  • LEED Platinum