James Rice ’87, of Firstfloor
company’s office in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he’s lived for 15 years. “Because the 21st-century student is so different from the 20th-century student, the architecture has to adapt,” he says. “The number one thing in our buildings is the people. Our architecture reflects the program and the teachers’ methods.” At Sandy Grove Middle School in Lumber Bridge, North Carolina, Rice and his colleagues came up with a design for a 75,930-square-foot building that creates 60 percent more energy than it consumes. The cutting-edge design uses solar panels, a well-insulated building envelope, and energy efficient windows. It’s earned Rice and his colleagues numerous awards. “It’s crazy how much money municipalities spend on energy,” Rice says. “We’re able to deliver buildings that are much better than your regular buildings and are also much less expensive to 70
Taft Bulletin / SPRING 2019
Energy Positive, on a rooftop with solar arrays, shows a group from Eastern Carolina University a Firstfloor energy-positive school in Myrtle Beach.
The best part of being net zero is your awareness of the environment....You’re not going to leave your lights on, especially [on] a cloudy day.