Designing a net zero building was at first thought to be something to strive for…but something that was not realistic. A net zero building is one with zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions annually.
Designing a building that operates with no net energy usage is difficult at best, but trying to do it on the budget of a public school system is next to impossible. This is what CMTA Engineering set out to do when they started to design Richardsville Elementary School in 2008. At the time, such a school did not exist in the United States.
Instead of relying on upgrades and changes to existing school designs, the Engineers had to start from scratch – rethinking literally everything. To meet the goal, the project demanded innovative strategies when it came to the HVAC design. The HVAC load in a typical building consumes 40-50% of the energy usage.
The Fall 2012 issue of High Performance Buildings Magazine did a feature Case Study on Richardsville Elementary. You can check it out here.