Tilden Elementary School


524 West State Street, Hamburg, PA


Hamburg Area School District, Hamburg, PA


AEM Architects, Inc., Reading, PA


Multani Associates, Inc., Wyomissing, PA


Lobar, Inc., Dillsburg, PA

Project Scope

Sq. Footage:



3 floors

Structural Precast Elements:

• CarbonCast® high performance insulated wall panels
• Solid walls

Architectural Precast Elements:

• Precast cladding with thin brick facing



Thin brick


Tilden Elementary School
Tilden Elementary School
Tilden Elementary School
Tilden Elementary School

Amid skyrocketing energy costs and heightened public awareness of sustainable construction practices, more building owners are seeking environmentally friendly solutions – but without incurring higher costs.

Tilden Elementary Center in Hamburg, Pa., is no exception. The school for kindergarten through fifth grade students will save on heating and cooling costs with innovative precast insulated sandwich wall panels engineered, manufactured and erected by High Concrete Group LLC. Carbon fiber grid played as a key component when first designing the structure, the project team considered a conventional cavity wall for the exterior. However, masonry ties create an energy-inefficient thermal conductance path – something the team did not want. High Concrete’s 10”-thick precast exterior walls on the 110,000-square-foot project deliver R-16 performance. They use three inches of continuous XPS insulation (“ci” as defined by ASHRAE 90.1) sandwiched between a 4” interior wythe and a 3” exterior wythe. C-GRID® carbon fiber shear grid connects the wythes, virtually eliminating hot and cold spots on the interior wall and preserving comfort for students. “With thermally efficient wall panels, the building will be much slower to cool down and warm up, meaning the exterior environment will have less impact on energy costs,” said the architect. “Because of the thermal mass of the panels, we were able to reduce the size and cost of the central HVAC plant.” The carbon fiber grid also creates 100 percent composite action, which enables the load-bearing walls to deliver structural support more efficiently than non-composite designs, which must be thicker resulting in more concrete consumption and greater expense. In addition to exceptional performance, the precast exterior provided aesthetic freedom.

The building features a traditional brick façade composed of thin brick embedded in the panel face. “Thin brick can be somewhat tile-like in appearance,” noted the architect, “but its advantage is in thinner, better performing walls. We were pleased with the traditional aesthetic it achieved when viewed from the curb.” Exposed precast banding and window sills impart the feel of limestone accents. A large, central cupola is the focal point of the building. Spring arched windows were created in the panels to emphasize the traditional look of the building. The interior of the precast walls was float-finished to complement the masonry walls throughout the building, and eliminate the dust and potential moisture issues associated with masonry. Learning on the fast track, the project team lauded the fast enclosure time enabled by precast. The precast walls were fabricated while the structural steel was erected. Quick wall panel placement at a pace of six to eight panels a day expedited installation of the windows and roof. This allowed other contractors to conduct interior finishing in a dry, friendly environment conducive to quality. Conduits were cast directly into the walls, which streamlined the work of mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades and reduced change orders.

Outstanding thermal performance achieved with CarbonCast® walls.

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