Zero energy schools have experienced exponential growth across the United States, leading a “net-zero” building boom. And they are going up in every sort of school district – urban and rural, affluent and lower income, blue state and red state. On average, zero energy schools can use between 65%–80% less energy than conventionally constructed schools, a significant contribution as the national K-12 sector alone spends $6 billion annually on energy bills.
There are now over 5,000 schools across the country with solar installations. These schools are saving money on electric bills, educating students about clean energy, and ensuring a brighter future for the next generation. And overall, solar projects at schools could deliver benefits valued at 4 billion.
In New York City, public schools account for nearly 40 percent of emissions from municipal buildings. P.S. 62 – The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground — is New York’s most environmentally sustainable school and first net-zero school. Hollis Montessori School is the first elementary school in the US that is a certified Passive House, and over 100,000 public schools nationally are LEED certified.
And green schools have a lasting impact: research has found that children attending sustainably designed schools have significantly more pro-environment attitudes and behaviors.