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Achieving Zero Energy in Schools

The Department of Energy and a group of nonprofit organizations recently released new guidance to support school stakeholders in their pursuit of net zero energy. The Advanced Energy Design Guide for K–12 School Buildings: Achieving Zero Energy (AEDG) represents an exciting milestone in our understanding of energy efficiency, and it encourages designers and school administration officials to consider that net-zero school buildings are within their reach.

The guide was published by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in collaboration with USGBC, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), with support from the Department of Energy (DOE) and analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Providing recommendations on design, construction, and management of a zero energy school, the new guide aims for 100 percent energy efficiency, building on the most recent version of the AEDG before this latest release, which aimed at an already ambitious 50 percent energy savings for K–12 school buildings.

Using up-to-date technologies and strategies, ASHRAE believes, any school can reach their net-zero energy goals. The new AEDG provides strategic recommendations for every step of the building’s design, construction, and maintenance to realize energy efficiency. Several net-zero schools already using the suggested strategies and creating a low-energy-consumption culture are featured throughout (several are also LEED-certified, such as Discovery Elementary in Arlington, Virginia). The AEDG also shares tips on creating building simulations for each climate type in North America, to provide tailored solutions for each school.

There are many incentives for schools to reach net zero energy usage: the budget benefits of lowered energy consumption increased student performance due to a healthier learning environment and accomplishment of a school’s mission to create a responsible, sustainable community. This free resource can help you reach your school’s zero energy goals.

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LEED Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non profit organization that certifies sustainable businesses, homes, hospitals, schools, and neighborhoods. USGBC is dedicated to expanding green building practices and education, and its LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.

Chemline, Inc. is a member of The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and has the potential to provide LEED points.