Bristow Elementary SchoolWarren County Board of Education · Bowling Green, Kentucky
79,817 SF/700 Students
Net Zero Ready
Covered student area at media center
Kentucky’s first “Net Zero Ready” School
Bristow Elementary is Kentucky’s first “Net Zero Ready” school. It is designed to consume 19 kBtu of energy per square foot annually, which is 73 percent more efficient than the average school. The school includes a plan for the infrastructure to add a 360-kW solar panel package in the future, at which time it can affordably achieve Net Zero Energy, generating as much energy as it consumes.
The energy-reducing strategies developed by Sherman Carter Barnhart echo the school District’s goals of sustainability. Natural daylight, controlled by light shelves and sunshades, dramatically reduces the artificial light needed in the classrooms and provides a healthier learning environment. Polished concrete and bamboo floors significantly reduce long-term maintenance and are readily renewable materials. The elimination of deep fryers and tilting skillets not only saves energy in the kitchen but also supports the district-wide initiative to provide healthier lunches for the students.
The integration of the building’s energy savings and sustainable features into the curriculum creates a collaborative learning environment of curiosity and imagination. A geothermal hallway, with exposed geothermal pipes and temperature gauges allow students to track the building’s performance while watching the system at work, demonstrating the earth’s ability to transfer energy.
A sundial in the rotunda is oriented true north and allows students to monitor the sun’s daily path as it bathes the school in natural daylight. Through the integration of laptops and iPads combined with Wi-Fi access creates building transparency by providing students the ability to obtain knowledge beyond the limitation of the classroom walls.
Bristow operates at
19.5 EUI/sf/yr creating an average savings of over $95,300 a year in energy costs.