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Performing Arts Center Takes Center Stage in Saving Energy

AISD earns certifications in LEED and Austin Energy Green Building

The Austin ISD Performing Arts Center has received a gold certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and an Austin Energy Green Building 5-star rating.

“The AISD Performing Arts Center was thoughtfully designed, not only to operate more efficiently through energy- and water-saving strategies, but also to serve our most precious resource—our students,” said Austin ISD Sustainability Manager Darien Clary. “The PAC takes center stage as the district’s highest-rated green building to date, with solar panels, sustainably sourced building materials, water-saving fixtures, efficient lighting and state-of-the art technology to ensure the facility enhances the urban school experience, while benefiting the local community for years to come.”

The center hosts district band, orchestra, theater, dance and visual arts performances. The center was designed by Pfluger Architects, in association with Miro Rivera Architects. It includes a 1,200-seat auditorium, a 250-seat black box theater, a 150-seat multipurpose room and a dance rehearsal space. Austin voters approved the construction of the PAC as part of the 2008 Bond Program.

Austin Energy Vice President for Customer Energy Solutions Debbie Kimberly presented the award.

“Austin Energy is committed to helping our community reduce electricity use,” Kimberly said. “The collaboration of our teams has resulted in an extraordinary facility that will significantly reduce electricity use, produce renewable energy resources and enrich the community for generations.”

The PAC is in the Mueller redevelopment, a former municipal airport that is a certified Stage 3 Gold USGBC LEED neighborhood development. The adjacent garage provides shared structured parking and is equipped with electric vehicle charging stations.

Acoustics and noise control were central to the design of the space. Extensive wood paneling, sourced from sustainably managed forests, optimize the acoustics within the theater. The theater’s sound-isolated acoustic curtains allow greater acoustic control for a wide range of performances.

The team conducted daylight analyses to capitalize on the physical and emotional benefits of natural light. Translucent glazing is used in the main lobby to diffuse light and avoid glare. More than 90 percent of regularly occupied spaces, excluding the theater, benefit from daylight access.

The city of Austin’s reclaimed water system is used outdoors for irrigation, as well as for all toilet and urinal flushing, resulting in more than 900,000 gallons of potable water savings annually. Selection of high efficiency chillers and fans, LED lighting and a high-performance envelope—or building components that work together to minimize the transfer of thermal energy—resulted in an estimated 31.6 percent energy savings. A districtwide renewable energy bond funded a 60.5kW solar array that is expected to produce nearly 80,000 kWh of renewable electricity per year.

For more information, please visit www.austinisd.org/finearts/pac.