Why Schools Are Embracing Net-Zero Energy | U.S. Green Building Council
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Why Schools Are Embracing Net-Zero Energy

GBCI: 0920013591

In this article, BuildingGreen explores what’s behind the net zero energy school trend.
Eligible for 1 CE HOUR.
  • 1 CE

  • LU/HSW

Published on: June 29, 2017

Average: 4.3 (29 votes)


Schools—with their traditionally short operating calendars and lack of intensive energy loads—are approachable candidates for net-zero energy goals technologically, and in the past few years the industry has seen their number proliferate. All this has been in the midst of a slow recovery to the recession that has left most school districts counting pennies.

In this article, BuildingGreen explores what’s behind this trend, whether it is really resulting in better learning environments for kids, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls that early net-zero energy schools have encountered. The financial arguments that resonate with school boards will be shared, as well as the tactics that lead to actual net-zero energy performance.

Note: Many of the links to additional resources listed within this article require a BuildingGreen membership. Free trials are available.


  1. Recount why schools are at the forefront of the net-zero energy building trend.
  2. Describe the financial arguments that have led school boards to accept net-zero energy proposals.
  3. List several tactics that project teams have taken to realize actual net-zero energy performance in schools.
  4. Describe why some argue net-zero energy schools are not actually resulting in better learning environments for students.
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Created by

BuildingGreen, Inc.
Brattleboro, VT
United States


Candace Pearson

Research Associate BuildingGreen, Inc.
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