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 paper discusses the evidence regarding daylighting and student performance and development, and presents four case studies of schools that have cost effectively implemented daylighting into their buildings."
This study expands and validates previous research by Heschong Mahone Group that found a statistical correlation between the amount of daylight in elementary school classrooms and student performance. The researchers reanalyzed student performance data from two school districts to answer questions raised by the previous study. The results are consistent with the original findings and affirm that daylight has a positive and highly significant association with improved student performance.
7x7x7: Design Energy Water is an innovative program by the Division of the State Architect that encouraged California school districts to develop long-range master plans that reduce energy and water consumption on campuses and improve the quality of educational spaces. The State Architect engages seven architectural firms to develop seven conceptual case studies that reduce school energy and water consumption and result in better learning environments on seven different types of campuses (six K-12 schools and a community college). The seven campuses are representative of typical building types from different eras constructed across California’s varied climate zones. The purpose and primary goal of this program is to enable all existing K-14 facilities to be zero energy by 2030.
This case study describes a successful zero energy school project in Utah.
This case study details the successful achievement of Passive House performance and zero energy at the Friends School of Portland.
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.
"When designers of the first net zero energy school in the U.S. considered how they would approach the lighting design differently using today’s LED technology, the results extended far beyond just switching out the lightbulbs. The hypothetical redesign of Richardsville (Ky.) Elementary classrooms involves rethinking the daylighting design based on the evolution of LED lighting and the cheaper cost of photovoltaics (PV)."
This case study details the successful achievement of zero energy and Living Building Challenge certification.
The Advanced Energy Retrofit Guide for K-12 Schools is one of five retrofit guides commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy. By presenting general project planning guidance as well as more detailed descriptions and financial payback metrics for the most important and relevant energy efficiency measures, the guides provide a practical roadmap for effectively planning and implementing performance improvements in existing buildings. The K-12 Schools guide provides convenient and practical guidance for making cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in public, private, and parochial schools.