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Nation's First Net Zero School

Richardsville Elementary School is one of the first net-zero schools in the United States.  Our first day wasn't until September 27, 2010 because everything needed to be ready for the students.  We have over 77,000 square feet-- this includes a gymnasium, lunchroom, library, FRC,
22 classrooms, Art, Music and several small workrooms.  We have a little over 400 students, 18 classroom teachers, 2 preschool teachers, 2 resource teachers and 5 special area teachers.  You can learn more about the schools' history by visiting the History link.

You may ask yourself, "What is a net-zero school?"  A net-zero school is one that has a renewable energy source on site which produces energy and feeds to the utility grid.  In other words, it's a drastic reduction of the building's energy consmption and the ability to return energy back to the grid which helps up to 50 homes and businesses in our area.  TVA (the electricial company) will buy back (22 cents per kilowatt hour) any unused energy.

Here are a few of the ways in which RES is a net-zero school:
*A roof desinged with solar panels (2,000 on the roof & 700 on the parking structure) and electricity grid.

*Geothermal (HVAC) heating and cooling for environmentally resposible efficiency.

*Walls of concrete (ICF)-pre-assembled blocks, steel reinforced, then filled with concrete.  This helps make our walls 9 times stronger, far more fire protection and more sound insulation.

*Ventilation includes a CO2 monitoring system to keep good air quality indoors and allow no more outdoor air than necessary.

*Positioning is north-south, allowing for effective day lighting so that all artificial lighting can be off during 70% of school hours.

*Computers are wireless-5 carts with 30 laptops which use a fraction of the energy used to run a typical desktop computer.

*Floors are stained and polished which reduces the effort required to buff and clean the surfaces.

*The kitchen also includes ways to be more energy efficient.  Energy Star equipment was used and combi-ovens were cosed as a healthier option to traditional gryers and skillets.  These features allow the cafeteria to be energy-efficient and provide healthier food choices to the students.

Our school features many ways for students to learn about energy.  A "geothermal hallway" exposes piping and includes a temperature gauge so students can monitor the system's performance.  The "solar hallway" has a laptop computer battery-charging station where students cn see the energy being received from the solar panels.  The "water conservation hallway" enables students to monitor the amount of rainwater collected and used in the rain garden.  Warren County Water District provided the school with a interactive mural about how water is used in Warren County.  The "recycling hallway" helps students to monitor the quantities of materials collected and relates these to their global impact.

The community wanted to include parts of the old building into the new building so some of the wood floor tiles were used in the gym's floor.  The rest of the floor used bamboo to make it more energy efficient.  To help with the sound in the gym acoustical wall panels were added to give athe room optimum acoustics.


Come by and visit us to see all the new "Green Technology" and how we are learning
 to be more energy conscious!