Los Angeles? New York? Portland? No, not even San Francisco is set to have the first zero energy public school. For that you’ll have to go to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Yes, Bowling Green, Kentucky where Richardsville Elementary School in Warren County is soon to be the first zero energy public school in the United States.
Now don’t kid yourself, the Warren County Public School System is no stranger to saving energy. They received the 2009 Andromeda Star of Energy Efficiency Award for their ongoing commitment to reducing energy in their schools while at the same time educating their students on the benefits of energy efficiency. Their accomplishments included saving more than $4 million in energy savings over the prior 4 years, 28% reduction in energy usage, Energy Star ratings on fourteen buildings and more.
To continue with their commitment to saving energy, Warren County aims to have Richardsville Elementary become the first zero energy public school in the Unites States.
Key environmental features in this zero energy public school include: insulated concrete form wall construction, geothermal HVAC with CO2 monitoring, daylighting through light shelves and Solatubes®, compact two-story design with reduced building volume, roof-adhered thin film photovoltaic system, energy-efficient lighting, reduced plug loads for computers, solar water heating and more.
The school has been laid out so it can reap the most rewards from renewable energy sources such as the sun and wind. It is expected that the new building will reduce energy consumption by 75%. Additionally, with renewable energy sources on site, Richardsville Elementary will produce enough energy every year to cover 100% of its estimated energy usage.
But remember, this zero energy school isn’t just about the building, it’s about the students too. They want their students learning about how energy works and how they can be more energy-efficient. To see more diagrams of the school’s infrastructure, click here.
Laptops are recharged in the “solar hallway” where students can actually see how much energy is being received from the solar panels.
The “geothermal hallway” has colored pipes and temperature gauges.
In the “water conservation hallway” students can see how much rainwater has been collected and used to flush toilets in the school’s restrooms.
The “recycling hallway” shows students how they are doing at recycling around the school.
They even have a weather station out on the patio, which they plan to incorporate into math and science studies.
If you are interested, you can follow the construction of the school via the Warren County Public Schools’ website.
(School images from Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects).
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