DOE Design Guidelines Aimed To Lower School Utility Bills

August 1, 2002
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NEW ORLEANS, LA — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the release of six books that complete its Energy Design Guidelines for High Performance Schools, a series of publications developed to help school districts save millions of dollars on annual utility bills by designing energy-efficient schools specifically for their regional climates.

The aim of the guidelines is to create better learning and teaching conditions through energy-efficiency savings and improved comfort control.

“Our nation’s schools spend more than $6 billion on energy costs per year,” noted Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. “With these guidelines, schools can lower their energy bills by 25 percent.”

David Garman, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, officially released the six guidelines at the DOE’s State Energy Program/Rebuild America National Conference last week in New Orleans, LA. In addition, he unveiled the National Best Practices Manual for High Performance Schools, which provides engineering and architectural specifications and other details on how to apply the guidelines.

“These books provide information that school districts have been requesting,” Garman said. “The guidelines also address health and safety issues and will help school districts improve the learning environment for less cost. These guidelines will enhance the energy efficiency and indoor environment of other buildings as well.”

The publications cover site design, daylighting and windows, energy-efficient building shells, lighting and electrical systems, mechanical and ventilation systems, renewable energy systems, water conservation, recycling systems and waste management, transportation, and resource-efficient building products.

The first set of guidelines, which was originally released in February, is tailored to hot and dry climates. The others focus on design for the following climates: hot and humid, temperate and humid, cool and humid, cold and humid, cool and dry, and temperate and mixed.

The guidelines resulted from meetings that the Rebuild America Program held during 2000 and 2001 to discuss the best energy-saving practices with school administrators, architects, teachers, developers, and other interested parties. Partners that worked with DOE to develop the guidelines include the American Institute of Architects, National Institute of Building Sciences, Oregon Office of Energy, Texas State Energy Office, Ashley McGraw Architects, Building Science Corporation, Energy Design & Consulting, Environmental Support Solutions, Facility Improvement Corporation, Innovative Design, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Copies of Energy Design Guidelines for High Performance Schools and National Best Practices Manual for High Performance Schools are available free to the school design community in book form or on CD-ROMs by calling 800-363-3732. They are also available on the EnergySmart Schools website at

Publication date: 08/05/2002

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