Schools lead the way to zero-energy buildings, and use them for student learning

Read the full story at the Hechinger Report. See also my 2012 article, “Green buildings as sustainability education tools.”

Buildings that make at least as much energy as they use are called “net-zero” (and “net positive” if they make more than they need). Nationwide, K-12 schools are leading a fledgling “net-zero” building boom that has grown from a few proof-of-concept structures a decade ago to hundreds of buildings completed or under construction.

Dozens of these ultra-green schools are going up in every sort of district – urban and rural, affluent and lower income, blue state and red state. Much of the advocacy for net-zero buildings has focused on environmental and economic incentives. K-12 schools run up a $6 billion energy tab every year, the Department of Energy reports – more than they spend on textbooks and computers combined, and second only to the cost of teacher salaries.

But the K-12 schools leading the net-zero charge are uncovering major educational benefits as well.

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