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This article about zero energy schools appeared in the September 2018 issue of Civil Engineering, The Magazine of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
Summary: Across the United States, primary and secondary school buildings are leading the way in the so-called zero-energy movement, in which structures are designed to generate at least as much energy as they use. They tend to be owner-occupied, are located on roomy sites with plenty of roof space for solar panels, and have predictable energy usage patterns, making them the perfect candidates.
K–12 schools are ideal candidates to lead the market shift from buildings that consume energy to buildings that produce as much renewable energy as they use. There are now resources to guide owners and project teams as they make the shift to these “zero energy” buildings, notably the Advanced Energy Design Guide for K–12 School Buildings: Achieving Zero Energy (K–12 ZE AEDG).
This 10-page paper provides a concise overview of the K–12 ZE AEDG (200 pages), as well as a nice explanation of the energy modeling and analysis methodology used to create the Design Guide.
Brief introduction to zero energy buildings (2 minute video).
Case studies from a collaborative of experts in zero energy buildings who are creating market-based solutions to get to zero energy.
This toolkit includes templates and customizable documents such as: agendas, activities for pre-charrette preparation, discussion topics and questions, checklists, and more.
A guide to stakeholder engagement and messaging for zero energy schools.
Discovery Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia, is one of the first zero energy schools on the east coast. This video tour of the school includes interviews from school officials and the architect responsible for delivering the school on-budget while meeting energy goals. Actual measured data shows that the school has been able to meet the zero energy criteria.
The driver for this small school to become zero energy started with a sustainability ethic based on the Quaker values of simplicity and stewardship. This school is an excellent example of rural schools.
Case study about how the U.S. General Services Administration successfully renovated the historic Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. GSA’s goals were to preserve the building’s historic features, and achieve Zero Energy Building status. This case study provides an overview of how reducing plug load energy helped achieve the Zero Energy Building status.