On December 6, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the launch of a new partnership to jump-start zero energy schools across the country. The Zero Energy Schools Accelerator enables states and school districts alike to design, construct, and operate these cutting-edge, energy-saving schools. This press release highlights the importance of the Accelerator by featuring a completed zero energy school, Discovery Elementary in Arlington, Virginia.
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This article about zero energy schools appeared in the September 2018 issue of Civil Engineering, The Magazine of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
Summary: Across the United States, primary and secondary school buildings are leading the way in the so-called zero-energy movement, in which structures are designed to generate at least as much energy as they use. They tend to be owner-occupied, are located on roomy sites with plenty of roof space for solar panels, and have predictable energy usage patterns, making them the perfect candidates.
Brief introduction to zero energy buildings (2 minute video).
Discovery Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia, is one of the first zero energy schools on the east coast. This video tour of the school includes interviews from school officials and the architect responsible for delivering the school on-budget while meeting energy goals. Actual measured data shows that the school has been able to meet the zero energy criteria.
Website with information on what is anticipated to be the first
zero energy renovation of an existing building in the District
of Columbia. This building is one of the first in the United States to use sewer heat recovery (an energy technology that is more common in Europe.)
This five-page fact sheet explains how designing, building, and operating zero energy ready K-12 schools provides benefits for districts, students, and teachers.