This case study describes a successful zero energy school project in Utah.
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The goal of the study was to determine the extent to which empirical evidence gathered via existing studies demonstrates that efficiency contributes to better financial performance.
Over 50 relevant studies from the market were reviewed and compiled into this summary.
While this review originally sought to cover all research on energy efficiency and financial performance, the final product focuses on “green labeled” buildings. The majority of research to date uses LEED or ENERGY STAR certifications as the means of distinguishing between efficient or sustainable buildings and conventional buildings. Specific energy efficiency measures, while proven to result in energy cost savings, have not yet been extensively evaluated for broader impacts.
This study does not represent new analysis conducted by DOE. It is a comprehensive survey and summary of the current body of research on the impacts of green labels on key components of commercial buildings’ operating statements. It does not exclude any studies or evaluate the quality of analysis.
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)."