Solar power plays an important role in the ability of buildings to achieve net-zero energy use. That’s certainly the case in Wilde Lake Middle School, the first school in Maryland to achieve net-zero energy use at least in part because of its rooftop and ground-mounted solar arrays.
The net-zero energy system was installed by Pfister Energy in Howard County. The building was designed to operate efficiently as possible and the solar installations are able to produce enough energy to meet all of its annual energy consumption needs.
There are a handful of schools across the country that are net-zero energy schools already. However, more are likely to come as the Department of Energy launched the Better Buildings Zero Energy Schools Accelerator, late last year.
“Statistics show the buildings sector is the primary energy consumer in the US,” said William Cole, president of Pfister Energy of Baltimore. “With growing concerns about the stability of our energy grid, fluctuating energy prices, and the impact on our environment, targeting this sector for net zero energy design is the key to minimizing the nation’s energy requirements. We are honored to have been chosen to work on the Wilde Lake Middle School project and are eager to share their story to educate and inspire others.”
The systems at the Wilde Lake Middle School will produce over 826,000 kilowatt hours in their first year of operations. Over their expected lifespan of 25 years, they are expected to produce 19 million kilowatt hours.
Beyond the solar installations the school also features natural daylighting, geothermal heating and cool, as well as energy-efficient lighting and building controls. Together the systems will allow the school to generate enough electricity to offset any that it needs to use from the grid. That’s despite the new school size, which is nearly 30,000 square feet larger than its predecessor. It also will house 49 percent more students while using half as much energy as the former Wilde Lake Middle School.Tweet