Fostering a sustainable campus and educating students to work toward a sustainable future are core Punahou values that the School encourages inside and outside the classroom. The School has invested significantly to reduce its carbon footprint and become an educational model for green building design and sustainable practices, and aims to have a completely net-zero campus in the coming years.

The Mary Kawena Pukui Learning Commons will meet LEED Gold Certification or higher. Sustainability features of the project include:

  • Water efficient landscaping via a series of bioswales, elevated walkways and local plants, designed to protect and restore the natural habitat.
  • Covered, perimeter lanai provide naturally lit and ventilated learning spaces, with internet and power access in areas that enhance interaction with nature and student wellbeing.
  • On-site renewable energy through full roof PV array.
  • Efforts taken to maximize permeable surfaces and reduce heat island effect.
  • Emphasis placed on environmental quality, including indoor and outdoor thermal comfort, daylight and views.
  • Conscious use of local and recycled content in materiality and finishes.
  • Optimized energy performance through design of transparency to maximize natural daylight, energy, and efficient mechanical systems to reduce energy.
  • Design intent of this project has been “transparency” from the early stages. Transparency in context, history, and materiality.

“I am most looking forward to the different spaces it will provide. I love quiet studying, but it will be nice to have rooms for collaboration, outdoor eating and relaxation. I think the new space will meet all the students’ needs, and I can’t wait to see what it will look like.”

Sophia Howell ’26

“I hope for the new Learning Commons to feel very open and have lots of natural light. I can imagine spending most of my time there studying, but I hope to also be able to socialize and spend time with friends in the café as well.”

Maya Gaudiano ’26