Energy-Efficiency Guidance for K-12 Schools

Jan. 31, 2008
This guide for K-12 school buildings will aid in constructing energy-smart schools using off-the-shelf technology that can cut energy use 30 percent or more

A full 16 percent of school districts' controllable costs are spent on energy. A new publication written specifically for K-12 school buildings will aid design teams in constructing energy-smart schools using off-the-shelf technology that can cut energy use 30 percent or more annually.

The Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings, published by the Atlanta-based American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), instructs facilities professionals, architects, engineers, and others on building design teams on how to use best design practices to create energy-saving buildings. Written in partnership with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institute of Architects, the New York-based Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the U.S. Department of Energy, the book is available for free in electronic form at (www.ashrae.org/freeaedg).

ASHRAE and its partners are sending more than 14,000 complimentary copies of the publication to school district officials nationwide to assist with the design of energy-efficient schools that create safe and comfortable environments conducive to learning.

"Many schools throughout the country have increased energy efficiency, cut costs, and reduced their environmental footprints through energy-efficiency measures," says Paul Torcellini, chair of the committee that wrote the book. "Many others, however, still spend more money on energy than they do on educational supplies. It's like money just goes out the single-pane windows or through the poorly insulated ceiling. Just think of all the things a school could do each year with the money it saves on energy: buy more books and computers, increase teachers' salaries, upgrade the media center, and gymnasium ... the list goes on and on."

The book features easy-to-follow recommendations for various climate zones and how-to implementation tips via a series of real-life school construction case studies. Included are suggested steps for achieving LEED energy credits and supplemental strategies for achieving advanced energy savings beyond 30 percent.

Some of the design tips included in the guide are:

• Provide daylighting to the classrooms and gym so that lights can be off most of the day, but design it carefully so additional cooling needs are not required.

Design lighting systems that use the most current energy-efficient lamps, ballasts, and integrated controls.

Control the HVAC system based on actual occupancy of each space at a given time. This requires the school to be zoned so that a zone's HVAC system can be shut down when that specific part of the school is unoccupied.

Design a well-insulated envelope, including good wall and roof insulation, and low-E windows.

Use high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment.

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