Texas District Breaks Ground on 'Net Zero Energy' School
Irving Independent School District of Irving, TX is launching what it called the largest "net zero energy" public school in the United States. A net zero school produces as much energy as it consumes.
The 150,000-square foot facility, Lady Bird Johnson Middle School, scheduled to open in August 2011, will be equipped with solar panels, geothermal energy harvesting technology, and wind turbines to produce the kilowatt-hours (kWh) necessary to power the school, as well as increased insulation, high-efficiency glazing, daylighting, and an Energy Star-rated kitchen to reduce consumption. The school could ultimately produce an excess of energy, which it could sell to a local provider for additional revenue.
In addition, the building will serve as an on-site laboratory for students to learn first hand all about the science, technology, and social implications of alternative energy, currently one of the foremost topics in STEM education.
"Net-zero buildings help reverse negative trends associated with climate change," explained Scott Layne, IISD assistant superintendent for support services. "Irving's new middle school will consume approximately half the energy that a typical middle school building consumes."
The district contracted with Charter Builders, based in nearby Dallas, for construction on the $29 million facility.
Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.