Sixteen percent of schools districts’ controllable costs are spent on energy, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). To help contain these costs, the group has released a new publication written specifically for K-12 schools, intended to help design teams construct energy-smart schools using off-the-shelf technology that can cut energy use 30 percent or more annually, its authors say. The Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings instructs architects, engineers, and others on how to use best design practices to create energy-saving buildings. Written in partnership with the American Institute of Architects, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the U.S. Department of Energy, the book is available free of charge in electronic format from ASHRAE’s web site; hard copies are available for purchase. “Many schools throughout the country have increased energy efficiency, cut costs, and reduced their environmental footprints through energy-efficiency measures,” says Paul Torcellini, chair of the committee that wrote the book. “Many others, however, still spend more money on energy than they do on educational supplies. Just think of all the things a school could do each year with the money it saves on energy: buy more books and computers, increase teachers’ salaries, upgrade the media center and gymnasium … the list goes on and on.”

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