High school aces energy-efficient design


Children walking into a school

When a community comes together to invest in its kids and build a school that’s 70 percent more efficient than a standard building of its type, it’s a success. The first K-12 school enrolled in Energy Trust’s Path to Net Zero initiative, Success High School is an innovative building that will save Woodburn School District an estimated $33,000 annually. It uses so little energy that most, if not all, of its annual energy needs should be met by a 250-kilowatt (kW) solar system on campus.

“The goal is to make the school net zero—reducing operating costs and using that money for books and technology that enhance our students’ learning experience,” said Chuck Ransom, superintendent, Woodburn School District.

Early in the design phase, Energy Trust provided technical assistance to identify strategies and technologies that maximize efficiency and solar potential. The open design optimizes natural light and ventilation, while fostering the collaborative learning that is integral to the school’s mission as an alternative education program helping students with different learning styles reach their full potential. The HVAC system uses efficient variable-refrigerant-flow technology and recovers and reuses waste heat. Other features include LED lighting and infrastructure for a future roof-mounted solar system. Energy Trust cash incentives totaling $76,200 helped offset the cost of energy efficiency and solar.