s Net Zero Energy Usage at Prairie Trails Early Learning Ctr.

Sustainability Case Study: Net Zero Energy Usage at Prairie Trails Early Learning Center

According to the U.S. Energy Department, energy consumption represents the second highest operational expense to schools, second only to salaries. Each year, a significant portion of taxpayer dollars are spent on school utility expenses, thereby cutting into funding that could be allocated to resources for students. On average, zero energy schools can use between 65%-80% less energy than conventionally constructed schools, and the remaining energy required is supplied by renewable energy.President Biden issued an executive order on January 21 giving direction to the secretaries of education and health and human services to work together to develop guidance on returning the majority of students of all ages to schools as soon as possible. The success of reopening, however, is contingent on "safely conducting in-person learning, including by implementing mitigation measures such as cleaning, masking, proper ventilation, and testing." Learn how FGM Architects helped River Trails School District 26 (Mount Prospect, IL) transform a 1966 school building into a high performing Net Zero Energy Usage facility. The school was designed to the 2018 PHIUS+ Source Zero project standard resulting in significant decrease in energy for space conditioning and better student health. Also, learn more about the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools award program which provides a framework for school districts to start a sustainability program.



Learning Objectives

  1. Learn more about the evaluation process used to determine the best renewable energy source for Prairie Trails School.
  2. Discover how the 2018 PHIUS+ Source Zero certification program challenges the building industry to construct buildings with very low operating energy.
  3. See how zero energy schools can educate a new generation of students with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills critical to our nation's future.
  4. Find out how the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Program inspires schools, districts, and institutions of higher education to strive for 21st-century excellence by highlighting promising school sustainability practices and resources that all can employ.

Broadcast Date

April 28, 2021, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (EST)

Purchase Price

Member: $0.00
Non-Member Price: $25.00

Meet the Presenters


Lyndl Schuster

Lyndl Schuster has served as the Assistant Superintendent for Business Services at River Trails District 26 since August 2006. Dr. Schuster holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Management with a concentration in Finance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Ron Richardson

Ron Richardson is a principal at FGM Architects, leads the Chicago Region PK12 educational practice and has 30+ years of experience in educational design. Ron serves on the IASA Service Associate Executive Committee and is an active participant in the IASBO Sustainability PDC.


Troy Kerr

Troy is a licensed architect and project manager with FGM Architects, helping school clients turn their visions into realities. For the last fifteen years, Troy has developed a passion for creating learning environments that change lives and culture. He holds degrees from the University of Maryland and Washington University in St. Louis.