NYC School Designed to Achieve Net Zero Energy

Gita Subramony for Zondits, August 15, 2014

Next year will mark the opening of NYC’s first net zero school. P.S. 62 on Staten Island is currently in construction and will have very low demand. Two thousand solar panels will help to produce as much energy as it uses. The school took advantage of its site on Staten Island to implement these design features. Net zero, on the whole, can be challenging in an urban environment such as NYC. High-rises with large square footage but smaller roof spaces are often not ideal candidates for solar panels – the focus for these buildings lies squarely in reducing energy consumption as much as possible.


Green ‘Net Zero’ Buildings Sound Great. What’s The Catch?

WNYC, August 13, 2014

When P.S. 62 opens in Staten Island a year from now, it may be the city’s largest science experiment. It will be the first school in the five boroughs, and maybe even the first building of any kind, that can claim to be “net zero” — meaning it produces as much energy as it consumes.

How will it do this? First, by driving energy demand as low as possible and second, by creating an energy source — namely, solar panels — robust enough enough to meet that demand. The building envelope — or exterior skin — was constructed to prevent air leakage. Plus, 81 geothermal wells sit underground. In the winter, the building will shoot water down them to be warmed by earth’s internal energy. In summer, those wells will cool the water instead. As a result of these and other measures, P.S. 62 will use only half of the energy of a typical New York City school — low enough to be fully powered by its 2,000 solar panels.

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