Print full article

New guide to help schools achieve zero-energy

A team of zero-energy experts have published a design guide to help K-12 schools cost effectively achieve advanced levels of energy savings.
Photo ©

A new guide seeks to empower owners, contractors, consulting engineers, architects, designers, and administrators of K-12 school buildings to cost effectively achieve advanced levels of energy savings. The resource, “Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings – Achieving Zero Energy,” is the first in a series of guides tailored to the design and creation of zero-energy buildings.

They are developed by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) with support and funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

“This comprehensive guide was developed by a team of zero-energy experts that bring building science and practical application together to create an achievable goal of zero-energy schools,” says Paul Torcellini, project committee chair.

The document provides guidance for onsite renewable energy generation and establishes a set of energy performance goals for achieving zero-energy. The goals are provided for all ASHRAE climate zones, in both site and source energy.

Strategies for achieving energy targets are provided throughout the guide, and cover how to set measurable goals, hire design teams committed to the goal, use simulation throughout the project, and maintain awareness about how process decisions affect energy usage.

As in previous guides, the how-to tips provide specific direction, broken into specialty areas—building and site planning, envelope, daylighting, electric lighting, plug loads, kitchens and food service, water heating, HVAC, and renewable generation. Each section contains multiple tips that move the design incrementally toward the zero-energy goal. Case studies and technical examples illustrate energy goals are achievable at typical construction budgets, as well as demonstrate the technologies in real-world applications.

Additional features of the report include:

  • guidance on how to connect zero-energy and teaching as well as use the concept as a catalyst for learning;
  • practical advice for owners and designers to achieve successful energy outcomes, and direction for school administrators on the process;
  • information on the ways in which design decisions can move a project toward zero-energy;
  • achievable energy targets all schools can strive toward, including those without renewable energy sources;
  • recommendations for conceptual phase, building, planning, and siting;
  • strategies to reduce and eliminate thermal bridging through the building enclosure;
  • plug load control and management plans to reduce energy consumption in K-12 schools;
  • light-emitting diode (LED) fixture sources and controls recommendations for better quality and energy benefits;
  • information on thermal mass to ensure optimum energy savings for HVAC systems; and
  • strategies for balancing energy efficiency and renewable energy generation as well as the best use of roof space.

Click here to download the report.

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *