Less than Zero: School library produces more energy than it uses

Oct. 2, 2015
Stevens Library at Sacred Heart Lower and Middle School is the first school library is the nation to achieve net-zero certification

If every building delivered the energy savings generated by a school library in the Bay Area of California, there would be no concerns about an energy crisis.

In its first year of operation, the Stevens Library at the Sacred Heart Lower and Middle School in Atherton, Calif., used 24,394 kilowatt hours of energy, according to the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). Over the same period, the facility produced 56,811 kilowatt hours of energy.

The $2.4 million, 6,300-square-foot space, which opened in December 2012, was certified in 2014  by the ILFI as the first school building in California to achieve Net Zero Energy Building Certification .

WRNS Studio, which designed the library, says the sustainable strategies that have helped facility achieve its stellar energy performance include:

  • a photovoltaic system that provides all the library’s needed energy
  • solar tubes to maximize daylighting inside the building
  • daylight monitoring systems and lighting occupancy sensors to minimize electricity usage
  • a high-efficiency mechanical system
  • low-flow water fixtures
  • a high-performance envelope that uses continuous rigid exterior insulation
  • building shading systems,
  • a rainwater collection system for campus irrigation.
About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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