“Net zero” means that the building will produce (or save) just as much or more energy than it consumes (usually via renewable energy), which means it does not use any energy from the grid.
Net zero buildings are a rising trend in green building, because they are considered to go above and beyond the energy efficiency requirements of LEED or other green building programs. California, the leading state for sustainable policies, recently made net zero building mandatory for 50% of all new state buildings beginning in 2020, and all new construction and major renovation projects by 2025.
The 3.5 acre school, which will serve nearly 450 Pre-K through 5th grade students, will be completed in 2015. The school was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). It began construction in late October 2012.
PS 62 is expected to use half the energy of conventional New York City public school, thanks to passive solar design, energy efficient lighting, energy recovery and daylighting, among other features. It will use rooftop solar PV panels, geothermal and solar thermal to offset the rest of the school’s energy use.
The net zero school will act as a “sustainability lab” for the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA), because it will demonstrate how net zero building operates and works in a real-life setting. It will help the SCA understand how to better design and build schools for its School Design Program.
While this will be the first net zero energy school in the Northeast, there are many cropping up in other parts of the U.S. Kentucky’s Richardsville Elementary Net Zero School in Warren Country was the first net zero energy school in the country. According to Inhabitat, the College of the Desert in California will be net zero energy and water.
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It also discusses certifications for Net Zero buildings, which include the Living Building Challenge and Net Zero Building certification.