ASHRAE Publishes Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings

ASHRAE energy guide K-12 school buildings
(Photo Credit: Joe Wolf, Flickr Creative Commons)

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) released a new guide for K-12 school buildings. Aimed at owners, contractors, consulting engineers, architects, designers, and administrators, the publication shows how to achieve advanced levels of energy savings while saving on costs.

Called “Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings – Achieving Zero Energy,” the publication is the first in a series of ASHRAE guides that the society has tailored to the design and creation of zero energy buildings. It has new and updated recommendations on energy efficiency as well as guidance for onsite renewable energy generation and a set of energy performance goals for achieving zero energy, project committee chair Paul Torcellini said in an announcement.

“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,” ASHRAE explains. “Case studies and technical examples illustrate that the energy goals are achievable at typical construction budgets, as well as demonstrate the technologies in real-world applications.”

Developed with the American Institute of Architects, the Illuminating Engineering Society, the US Green Building Council, the guide also received support and funding from the DOE through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Details about the free guide download are available on ASHRAE’s site.

The new K-12 schools guide includes:

  • Advice for owners and designers to achieve successful energy outcomes
  • Direction for school administrators on how to achieve zero energy in their new schools
  • How every design decision can move a project toward zero energy
  • Achievable energy targets all schools can strive toward, including schools 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
  • LED light sources and controls recommendations for better lighting quality and energy benefits
  • Information on thermal mass to ensure optimum energy savings for HVAC systems
  • Strategies for balancing energy efficiency and renewable energy generation including the best use of roof space

ASHRAE’s guide comes at a time when K-12 school districts across the United States are looking for cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency. Recently an Alabama school district started a facilities modernization project with Schneider Electric expected to save $14.6 million. Blount County Schools joins a growing list of districts undertaking similar projects.

Beyond modernization, adding renewable energy can also produce savings for schools. A report this winter from the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Solar Foundation, and the clean energy nonprofit Generation 180 found that solar capacity in American K-12 schools doubled since 2014. Examples included solar arrays at two New Mexico high schools that saved approximately $700,000 a year since coming online in November 2013.

The 3rd Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 15 – 17, 2018 in Denver. Learn more here.

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