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Project Spotlight: Houston ISD – Energy Institute High School

by Kat Phelps, Marketing Manager

Located in Houston’s Third Ward, Energy Institute High School is the newest magnet school in Houston ISD and the first energy-focused magnet school in the Nation. The campus, established in the “Energy Capital of the World,” is helping the district pave the way for students who aspire to a career in the energy industry and ensure they are well versed in corporate culture.

The school emphasizes project-based learning, an educational concept that helps students to hone their critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills by having them work collaboratively with peers rather than independently. Specifically, students focus on one of three pathways: geosciences, alternative energy, and offshore technology.

A Project Advisory Team, including energy sector businesses, VLK Architects and Houston ISD developed the design concept which features a campus-like setting, mimicking many of the corporate campuses where Energy Institute students visit and intern during their high school education.

The campus design is reflective of industry culture and each building is comprised of educational environments for individualized focused learning, flexible collaboration, and hands-on CTE lab experiences. The school spans 116,000 square feet and has a capacity for 813 students in grades 9-12. The campus is comprised of three buildings that surround a covered outdoor learning courtyard, which is the center of the campus.  The outdoor space includes a shaded, multi-tiered collaboration area and outdoor instructional spaces. The design supports a technology-rich campus that is part of Houston ISD’s PowerUp 1:1 initiative and all instructional spaces are flexible and equipped with smart, interactive monitors.

DBR designed a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) heating and cooling system with a Building Automation Controls System (BAS) for comfort heating and cooling.  Energy modeling was used to optimize building energy performance. Energy-efficient LED lighting was used throughout the campus with a lighting control system incorporating automatic time control, occupancy sensors, and daylight sensors to minimize power demands.

The new high school achieved LEED Silver and was awarded the 2019 Citation of Excellence by Learning by Design Magazine.


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