This fall Richardsville Elementary School will open its doors to a new school year and the first Net-Zero educational facility in the USA. Nudura Net Zero School NUDURA ICF Concrete Blocks played a key role in allowing the school to meet the desired energy saving criteria and worked in conjunction with other energy efficient building materials to deliver a Net-Zero facility.
The 82,000 sq. ft. school, built using NUDURA ICF Concrete Blocks will be a first of its kind in the United States. Located in Bowling Green Kentucky, Warren County School district, the school board responsible for Richardsville Elementary has been building energy efficient schools that are being recognized for their innovation across the Untied States. Warren County has incorporated NUDURA ICF Concrete blocks in other projects including Alvaton Elementary, and has four Energy Star facilities.
As a Net-Zero school, Richardsville Elementary is designed to use only 18 kBtu/sq. ft.—annually 75 percent less than the ASHRAE 90.1 design standard for elementary schools. The building envelope will not only utilize NUDURA ICF Concrete Blocks on the exterior walls of the school but also for the interior walls throughout the school. The roof will provide R-32 of insulation capping of a building envelope that ultimately will require much less energy to heat and cool the facility.
To achieve net zero, the design focused on six key aspects:
- High-performance building envelope with NUDURA ICF Concrete Blocks.
- Geothermal HVAC and hot-water generation.
- On-site solar panel array.
- Energy Star-rated kitchen.
- Efficient operation and maintenance plan.
Thin film Solar voltaics will be situated on the roof of the facility, collecting sunlight and converting it to electricity to supply the 300kw of power back to the grid. This amount of harvested energy will offset the total energy consumed by the school, resulting in an “energy neutral” or net-zero, facility. In addition, automated dimming controls, and wireless computer technology will further reduce the overall energy needs of the school. The building is oriented north/south on the site to optimize the classroom day lighting strategies and maximize the electrical output of the roof-mounted solar panels.
The schools unique design will provide students and faculty a unique teaching tool. Students will learn about Net-Zero design, and a geothermal hallway exposes the pipes coming into the school from the well field with a temperature gauge, so students can monitor the performance of the system. Students and area residents will also learn about the advantages that NUDURA ICF Concrete Blocks can provide not only from and energy perspective, but also from a safety and health standpoint.
Design Renderings Courtesy of Sherman-Carter-Barnhart