Orca@Whitworth provides hands-on gardening experience to city kids as part of the school’s ecology focus. When the school transitioned from an elementary to a K-8 school, FSi was the mechanical engineer for the building renovation, and for a new, stand-alone science classroom with an attached greenhouse.

As part of a team with Rolluda Architects, FSi provided HVAC, piping, and plumbing design for the stand-alone building. With an eye toward sustainability, the building is full of natural light, and conditions the air without the use of mechanical refrigeration. Radiant heat warms people and objects, rather than heating the air. A 7,100 gallon underground cistern collects rainwater from rooftops and uses it for irrigation and a dual-flush toilet. The building and garden incorporate other green features, such as reclaimed concrete for paving, ecowheat and cork panels, recycled plastic “lumber,” external shading, Energy Star appliances, and the conversion of 100% impermeable ground to 100% permeable gardens and pathways to reduce storm runoff.

The kids at Orca learn about gardening and business as they grow plants and hold an annual plant sale to raise money to support the school. We are proud to participate in their learning experience!

We’re not big on trash talk, unless it’s about the South Transfer Station.