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.
Sandy Grove Middle School is designed to be the nation's first leased public school designed as a zero energy & LEED Platinum building. The building incorporates energy efficiency features such as high-efficiency HVAC systems, advanced envelope strategies, LED interior and exterior lighting, and renewable energy generation provided by roof-mounted PV panels. The building was constructed by a public-private partnership: a private company (First Floor K-12) financed and owns the building, while the local school district (Hoke County Schools) leases the school.