Zero Energy With an Affordable Price Tag: Friends School of Portland

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


More than half of all operating school districts in the U.S. are in rural areas. These small schools operate at a different scale and have different needs than their city counterparts. In 2003-2004, 20% of public schools in the U.S. served fewer than 200 students(1). Although the Friends School of Portland - which was designed to achieve both zero energy performance and Passivhaus certification - is an independent school, it faced financial constraints similar to those faced by many other small schools throughout the country. The project was financed through a capital campaign and a mortgage that forced a hard cost cap on the project, so the project team had to be diligent about every dollar that was spent. In its first year of operation, the school site energy use intensity was just 12 kbtu/ft2, a bit more than the 9 kbtu/ft2 predicted.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-5500-68782

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102017-4977


  • building efficiency
  • Cumberland, Maine
  • Friends School of Portland
  • zero energy school


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