Cutting Edge Energy Efficiency in NC, KY Schools

schoolLumber Bridge, N.C. is home to a net-positive energy school building, according to WRAL.

The Sandy Grove Middle School features solar panels, high-efficiency lighting and a geothermal climate control system, the story says. The building, which was designed by SfL+a Architects, opened in 2013.

The school generates as much as 40 percent more electricity than it consumes during the day. In addition to savings – which are not clearly spelled out in the story – the school has become part of the curriculum via a dashboard that tells students how much energy is being saved at a particular point in time.

SfL+a recently opened two more energy-positive school buildings. Five more are under construction, according to the story.

A YouTube video posted late last year provides insight into steps taken by Richardson Elementary School in Bowling Green, KY, to attain net zero status. School administrators say it is the first net zero school in the country, though others likely would argue the point.

The school features thin-film solar panels that are attached to the roof by Velcro, geothermal energy and concrete foundations. The kitchen has no tilting skillets or deep fat fryers (which provides a healthier menu in addition to cutting energy use). The goal is to reduce energy use by 75 percent compared to average schools. The video makes clear that gains were achieved, but not whether or not that aggressive goal was reached.

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