The newly opened Walnut Grove Elementary School in Bargersville, Ind., stands just a few hundred feet away from six acres of solar panels that are projected to bring in about 50 to 80 percent of the electricity needed to power the campus.
The Daily Journal reports that the solar panels at the $42 million, 110,000-square-foot school are a first for are the first for the Center Grove Community District.
The district spent $367,600 on the panels, spokesperson Stacy Conrad says.
Walnut Grove, about 30 minutes south of Indianapolis, also uses geothermal heating to reduce energy use, the Indianapolis Star reports. Large windows and glass walls throughout pull in large amounts of daylight, as do the solar tubes that look like light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, but actually just concentrate sunlight from the building's rooftop.
The landscape around Walnut Grove has a prairie theme. This will allow for the growth of natural grasses and plants, which reduces maintenance costs.
The school has opened with around 615 students, but was designed to accommodate more. Enrollment is expected to grow to around 800 in the coming years.