Rooftop solar panels provide energy for Wilde Lake Middle School Howard County Public Schools
<p>Rooftop solar panels provide energy for Wilde Lake Middle School.</p>

Maryland district opens net-zero-energy middle school

Howard County school officials say the new Wilde Lake Middle School is the first net-zero-energy school in Maryland.

Howard County (Md.) school district officials say the new Wilde Lake Middle School in Columbia is the first "net-zero energy" school in the state.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the $33 million campus, which opened earlier this month, has system efficiencies and on-site renewable energy sources that will enable it the facility to generate as much energy as it consumes.

The new school, significantly larger than the 48-year-old building it is replacing, is designed to anticipate enrollment growth. It has space for 760 students compared with 500 in the old facility. the new school has been built on the same campus as the former Wilde Lake school, which will be demolished for athletic fields and a bus loop.

The district says the school is positioned to be the most energy-conscious and efficient school in the state. Although it is nearly twice the size of the previous facility, it will consume less than half of the energy.

To be considered net-zero, the Wilde Lake Middle School's design is highly efficient with regard to building orientation, mass and scale. The building will be powered by solar energy, the mechanical system will be a geothermal system, and the electric lighting will be responsive and adjust to daylight.

Video from the Howard County school district:

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