School district plans net-zero building

May 01, 2009 |

Camas (Wash.) School District is planning to utilize one of three energy sources—photovoltaics, wind turbine, or geothermal—to help take its new community high school completely off the grid. The school district commissioned Interface Engineering to explore all three options for the project, which is scheduled to break ground in August.

Early findings from Interface and project architect Mahlum Architects show that wind turbines may be feasible because of the site’s close proximity to the Columbia River Gorge, which is known for its winds. The geothermal option may work because power could potentially be drawn from water in an underground channel built in the late 1800s for an adjacent paper mill. The third option arises from grants that could be used to buy rooftop PV panels.

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