Rural Lake Mills, Wis., replaced an overcrowded, outdated elementary school built in 1964 with a K-4 elementary school that was not just up-to-date but also designed under the LEED v4 Beta Program, the next version of the LEED rating system. The construction team took a collaborative and holistic approach that clarified communication and reduced the burden of complying with the requirements of a constantly evolving beta program.

Winter weather was an issue as the team had to complete some exterior construction throughout the cold, harsh months. When the utilities beneath the streets surrounding the project site had to be updated, coordination of construction material deliveries was also difficult, project officials note.

Working through the new requirements of the LEED v4 rating system offered its own unique challenges. As a beta site, the requirements of the program changed six times during design and construction, and product manufacturers were behind the curve in providing “certified” materials that would meet the materials and resources credit requirements.

The team had to invest significant time researching products and talking directly with manufacturers to ensure that the products they specified would meet the requirements.

LEED Online v4 was not initially available to document the project via online forms or to upload supporting documentation, so checking the consistency of the LEED documentation was a chore, project team members say. Also, many of the LEED forms had errors, and calculations often had to be verified manually.

When LEED Online v4 went live midway through the project, all of the documentation and forms had to be re-entered into the system to be submitted to USGBC.

The school is expected to be 50% more efficient than a code-compliant school, saving an estimated $131,000 a year in energy costs.

Lake Mills Elementary School

Lake Mills, Wis.

Key Players
Lake Mills School Area School District
Lead Design Firm Eppstein Uhen Architects
Contractor Miron Construction Co.
Structural Engineer Arnold & O’Sheridan
Civil Engineer JSD Professional Services Inc.
MEP Engineer Muermann Engineering (Electrical & Plumbing)
Mechanical Engineer Fredericksen Engineering
Energy Modeling, Commissioning, Measurement and Verification Sustainable Engineering Group LLC