A recent publication from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), headquartered in Atlanta, educates architects, engineers, and other members of building design teams on how to use best design practices to construct energy-saving buildings.

Written specifically for K-12 school buildings, “The Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings” seeks to assist design teams in constructing energy-smart schools using off-the-shelf technology that can cut energy use by 30% or more annually — a substantial figure, considering that 16% of school districts' controllable costs is spent on energy.

According to ASHRAE, the publication offers easy-to-follow recommendations for various climate zones as well as how-to implementation tips via a series of real-life school construction case studies. Also included are suggested steps for achieving LEED energy credits and supplemental strategies for attaining advanced energy savings beyond 30%.

Design tips featured in the guide include:

  • Provide daylighting to the classrooms and gym so lights can be off most of the day, but design the facility carefully so that no additional cooling needs are required.

  • Design lighting systems that use the latest energy-efficiency lamps, ballasts, and integrated controls.

  • Control the HVAC system based on actual occupancy of each space at a given time.

  • Design a well-insulated “envelope,” including good wall and roof insulation and low-e windows.

  • Use high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment.

To download a free electronic version of the ASHRAE report, visit www.ashrae.org/freeaedg.