Moving K-12 Zero Energy Schools to the Mainstream: Establishing Design Guidelines and Energy Targets

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


K-12 school buildings are ideal candidates to lead the market shift from buildings that consume energy to buildings that produce as much renewable energy as they use, and there are now resources available to guide owners and project teams as they make that shift. Chief among them is the Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings: Achieving Zero Energy (K-12 ZE AEDG). Starting with a feasibility study to prove that zero energy schools were possible, a committee of industry experts used extensive energy modeling to create a set of energy use intensity allowances for school buildings such that on-site renewable energy could meet the buildings' energy loads . These energy targets were compared with the energy use intensities of a limited number of schools that have achieved very high levels of energy performance. The allowances represent a 'zero energy ready' (rather than zero energy) school, because in many situations the ability to use on-site renewable sources is limited by utilities, policies, or economics. From these targets, the guidance for achieving a zero energy school was created and developed into the K-12 ZE AEDG, which covers the process of designing and building zero energy schools from the perspective of an owner and a project team. The K-12 ZE AEDG advocates setting an absolute energy target before design begins. The K-12 ZE AEDG also contains practical, cost-effective strategies for achieving the energy target and outreach approaches and disseminating these market-friendly strategies to design and school owner communities.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2018
Event2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 12 Aug 201817 Aug 2018


Conference2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

Bibliographical note

Available from ACEEE: see; See NREL/CP-5500-71700 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-74164


  • AEDG
  • schools
  • zero energy


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