This case study describes a successful zero energy school project in Utah.
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On the night of May 4, 2007 an EF5 tornado 1.7 miles wide ravaged Greensburg, Kansas, destroying 95% of the city's homes and businesses. In the wake of the disaster, it became apparent that changes would need to occur to sustain the town for future generations. The Greensburg School District selected BNIM Architects to provide comprehensive design services for new school facilities.
In direct alignment with the town's Sustainable Comprehensive Master Plan, the USD decided to rebuild to LEED Platinum. This decision led the way for the city, which later mandated that all public buildings attain a Platinum rating. This K–12 facility combines the resources of three rural community school districts into a single facility, thereby right-sizing at a regional scale.
The Sacred Heart Academy Library is part of the Sacred Heart School's Lower and Middle School campus. The library is intended as an educational demonstration of the school's goal "to teach students to be stewards of the earth's resources." The library has achieved zero energy while meeting a very modest construction budget - in fact, all Zero Energy features, including photovoltaic panels, were included within the already established budget.
Richardsville Elementary School is the first full-scale zero energy K-12 school in the United States. The school building, located in Kentucky's Warren County Public School District, uses many innovative strategies to conserve energy including dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS) with dynamic reset, insulated concrete form (ICF) wall construction, daylighting, and ground source heat pumps, among others. The school has both thin film and crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels.