Southeast sees surge in net-zero schools

A Virginia school’s recognition last month for its net zero energy status is part of a growing trend in the Southeast.

According to the New Buildings Institute, four of the five states with the most net zero energy schools underway in 2016 were in the South — despite low power rates and few policy incentives.

Ground zero for net zero schools is coal-rich Kentucky, where former Gov. Steve Beshear tapped federal stimulus money to offer incentives for schools to become more energy efficient.

In South Carolina, there’s a county system planning five net zero facilities. A North Carolina district has committed to building only net zero from now on. And in Virginia, Arlington Public Schools is operating one of the nation’s largest net zero buildings of any kind.

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