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Environmental Features

Debevoise Hall Fact Sheet

Debevoise Hall, built in 1893 as South Royalton's first centralized, graded school, has been renovated to include modern, resource-saving technology while carefully preserving the integrity of the historic structure.



LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification (Goals—the building will be submitted for LEED "green building" certification)

  • Energy efficiency: "building envelope" insulation and sealing improvements; fiberglass windows, new HVCA equipment, and efficient lighting
  • Building reuse: retain as much existing structure, windows, roofing, flooring, woodwork as possible
  • Indoor air quality: low-emitting materials, clean construction practices
  • Water efficiency: composting toilets

Renewably Harvested Wood

  • Architect Rolf Kielman collaborated with the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers to design furniture—all made with wood certified as renewably harvested by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)—with the simple, clean lines of earlier times
  • In construction, wood certified as renewably harvested was used whenever possible
  • Composting Toilets Save Precious Water

  • Composting toilets and urinals that do not use water are on the first and second floors of Debevoise Hall, while a "foam flush" composting toilet using a mixture of biocompatible soap and minimal water is on the third floor.
  • The waste goes into catchment tanks in the basement, where the composting process goes on year-round.
  • Aerobic bacteria and earthworms convert the waste into potential fertilizer.
  • The toilets are cleaned nightly and maintenance on the catchment tanks occurs regularly, including adding sawdust and yeast-based bacteria to eliminate odors and promote composting.
  • The reduced water demand is a substantial benefit to the Town of Royalton's small, municipal water system.
  • The building joins Vermont Law School's James L. and Evelena S. Oakes Hall as one of the first public, year-round buildings in Vermont to use composting toilets.

The High Quality "Building Envelope" Has Multiple Benefits

  • The envelope surrounding the building includes a continuous layer of high quality insulation, "super windows," and airtight construction.
  • The envelope keeps interior surfaces of the building warm, preventing condensation, which can lead to mold and/or deterioration.
  • The envelope decreases heating and cooling costs.
  • The envelope eliminates the need for perimeter heating, decreasing capital cost.

"Super Windows" Reduce Heat Loss, Retain Historic Exterior Windows

  • Super insulating fiberglass windows inserted inside existing historic, wooden windows insulate almost twice as well as typical new windows, dramatically reducing heat loss while retaining the look of historic, Queen Anne style schoolhouse

Enthalpic Energy Recovery Wheel Controls Humidity, Recycles Exhaust Heat

  • Five enthalpic wheels, located within the ventilation air ductwork, are coated with a substance that absorbs and re-releases moisture.
  • By transferring heat and water vapor the wheels will keep the building from becoming too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.
  • The wheels recover 80% of the heat in exhaust air, transferring it to the incoming, fresh air.

Economical Lighting Systems Minimize Energy Consumption

  • Photoelectric lighting controls turn off corridor lighting when sufficient natural light is present.
  • Lights are turned off automatically once users leave an area.
  • Lighting fixtures include high-efficiency, low mercury, fluorescent lighting and compact fluorescents.
  • Exit signs are lit by very efficient, long lasting, light emitting diodes.
  • Outdoor site lighting includes high pressure sodium lighting, the most efficient electric lighting for larger, open areas.

Fiber-Cement Siding Replaces Less Durable Wooden Clapboards (on new addition)

  • The siding is very rugged and much more resistant to moisture-driven expansion and contraction.
  • The siding has the look of traditional, wooden clapboards, but the interval between repainting is at least doubled.

The Building Minimizes Exposure to Unhealthful Substances

  • Construction materials were carefully chosen to minimize harmful fumes, including water-based paints and finishes, non-formaldehyde particleboard for cabinetry and casework, and natural linoleum instead of vinyl flooring.


Preserving a Historic Treasure

  • Centerpiece of community life will serve community for another 100 years
  • Exterior Queen Anne style features retained (windows, decorative wood panels, distinctive bell tower)
  • Interior first floor hallway and two classrooms restored: original wainscot, wooden floors, picture rail, blackboard (some original plaster)
  • Architect Rolf Kielman collaborated with the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers to design furniture — all made with wood certified as renewably harvested by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) — with the simple, clean lines of earlier times