Award-Winning Firm Builds “School of the Future” Selects InsulBloc Spray Foam Insulation for Ultra-Energy Savings

MOUNT AIRY, NC—SfL+a Architects, Raleigh, NC, spent more than two-and-a half years researching and designing a sustainable building design prototype for K-12 educational facilities. New Century International Elementary School, in Cumberland Co., NC, is the brick-and-mortar embodiment of  that passion. The school is the firms’ first use of their innovative new “Dragonfly” prototype system.

Joe Anetrella, AIA, LEED AP, CCS, CSI and the firm’s technical director,describes Dragonfly, “A school built to exacting sustainable standards, designed to generate more energy than it consumes, and the tangible result of the community’s total commitment to its children, sustainability and energy efficiency.” He says New Century School is “designed to LEED Platinum standards and earns an ENERGY STAR Rating of 98.”

While the school uses closed-loop geothermal and is designed to use solar panels to generate electricity and heat the building’s water, the key to sustainability is how truly energy efficient they can make it. Anetrella says his firm turned to InsulBloc spray foam insulation by NCFI. “We wanted ultra-insulation, air, and vapor barriers in a single product. InsulBloc is ideal for this, and NCFI’s technical support made them the clear choice for our ‘best practices’ prototype.”

“In addition to geothermal HVAC, solar, and InsulBloc insulation, we selected high performance design elements, sustainable building products, day-lighting, and controlled lighting systems to save considerably on the total cost of ownership for the community—which is a tenet of the Dragonfly design. We estimate the total cost of ownership savings over the forty-year life of the building to be in excess of $15 million.”

Anetrella continues, “New Century is designed and built to easily accept roof mounted solar panels. The eventual installation of these panels will allow New Century to fully realize “net-zero” energy use, and allow the school to actually return energy to the grid.” He concludes, “We debuted the Dragonfly concept in 2008, and we believe—are committed to—this new high-performance school building as a new era of design and construction for the community and, we hope, the country.”

For more information, contact:

Dale McGlothlin (202) 341-8615,

Client: Cumberland County Schools
Size of Project: 109,758 total sf
Capacity of Facility: 920 students
Construction Cost: $16,997,867 (School: $14,354,000; Library: $2,643,867)
Year Completed: 2010