Despite shoe-string budgets in low-income public schools and the decreasing cost of renewable energy, K-12 schools still allocate a significant portion of their budget to non-renewable energy. Some districts spend more on energy than they do on books and technology.
We hope to dramatically increase the number of low-income schools with solar energy programs. To accomplish this, we will create a replicable model for net positive energy generation onsite within a standard Chicago public school construction budget and restrictions. We will disseminate actionable advice, replicable plans, and innovative solutions while prototyping the first net positive energy public school in the Midwest. Our team includes the research-driven, award-winning architecture firm Studio Gang Architects, internationally renowned environmental design consultants Atelier Ten, and the Academy for Global Citizenship, an innovative public elementary school serving a majority low-income community, amongst many others.
In addition to research, design, and prototyping, we will affect change by launching advocacy campaigns, hosting workshops and conferences, and publishing resources. A 200-page book about the pedagogy and design, while still in draft form, is already being used as a resource by multiple architecture firms and is the subject of a graduate thesis. As advocates for sustainability in schools, the Academy for Global Citizenship has reached over 900,000 students around the world.