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.
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This case study describes a successful zero energy school project in Utah.
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.
"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)."