Meet James Rice, Energy Positive Manager at Firstfloor Energy Positive. We sat down with James and our Energy Manager, Jerry Marshall, to get their take on the five new Firstfloor Horry County schools. Part of James’ role, as an architect, has been to help guide the 5 new Horry County schools from conception to completion. Learn more about James, his experience on the project, and his perspectives on the future of energy-positive schools in the interview below.
What was/is your role in the development of Horry County Schools?
“I came on board after the HCS projects were awarded and after the Design Development was complete. I worked with the exteriors architect and detailed the exteriors of the buildings during the Construction Documents phase. I then transitioned to provide the Construction Administration phase services of the projects for the Architects. Following completion of the buildings, I joined Firstfloor and became the Energy Positive Program Manager for FFEP.”
How long have you been designing energy-positive schools?
“I have been designing and building net-zero buildings since I was 16 years old, so for about 33 years. I have been designing and building energy-positive buildings since starting on the HCS projects about 3 years ago.”
What are some benefits of building energy-positive schools vs. traditional ones?
“Occupants love them; they enjoy going to school or work every day because the buildings are different than the traditional models and they feel special. Any occupant who has inhabited the buildings will have a much better understanding of energy (production and consumption) than just your average student in a traditional school.
[They’re also] totally up to date with teaching methods, technology, student and cultural needs, and very flexible for any future changes in methodologies as well. Energy money not spent by the District can go toward additional teachers or other student needs [as well]. But most importantly, they are great buildings to learn and collaborate in!”
Have you noticed an impact these type of schools have had on students or even the current students in Horry County?
“Energy-wise, clubs have been tearing it up; I think they have 4 national awards and counting! Students are the ones who make up these clubs and put together the submittals using data from the new buildings.
Is it your goal at Firstfloor to build more schools like the Horry County Schools?
“Absolutely. Many more schools– not just like them, but better. It’s a natural evolution.”
Want to learn more?
Get the Inside Look of Firstfloor Horry County Schools here.