The U.S. Department of Energy recently launched the zero energy schools accelerator, an effort to develop cost-competitive zero energy school design.
Six school districts, two states, and several national organizations are working collaboratively on the effort. DOE defines a zero energy building as “an energy-efficient building, where on a source energy basis, the actual delivered energy is less than or equal to the onsite renewable exported energy.”
The program’s goal is to quickly make Zero Energy K-12 schools more mainstream. Participating school districts commit to developing their own zero energy plans for a district project within a year. They can also engage with fellow states and school districts, and gain support from regional and national organizations.
Officials kicked off the program at a school in Arlington, Va., that features advanced next generation energy efficiency and renewable power features, including solar rooftop and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Zero Energy schools have the potential to save 65%-to-80% in energy consumption, depending on climate the zone, DoE says.