A school is just about the biggest thing that local governments build and operate, so if cities/towns are going to help reduce our climate damage they’re going to have to take a different approach to building these schools. I did a deep-ish dive on this topic recently, concerning Concord’s plans to build a new middle school: You can read it here.
The Oyster River Cooperative School District in Durham seems to have done quite well with its new middle school, which is nearing completion, judging from this article on Green Energy Times.
According to Steve Laput, Lavallee Brensinger project architect, even though one of the school district’s primary goals was to build a net-zero facility, it will in fact be net-positive upon completion, due in part to use of low-energy LED lights, smart-light controls and natural daylight. The building’s energy infrastructure underlying these components is even more important.
“A high-performance exterior envelope combined with the geothermal system substantially reduces the building’s heating and cooling loads which results in a smaller mechanical system and therefore reduces energy usage. Furthermore, an extensive solar photovoltaic system consisting of roof-mounted solar panels and a structured solar array over a parking lot will generate and send power back into the electrical grid,” said Laput.
Online discussion pointed out that ReVision energy, the school’s solar firm (they did my roof array) is selling the Renewable Energy Credits rather than retiring them, which by some measures should go against them in terms of carbon accounting.
Oyster River is one of the state’s richest school districts, thanks to all the UNH staff and faculty who live in Durham.