The Inevitable Solar School

The Inevitable Solar School

Building the Sustainable Schools of the Future, Today

Mark Hanson


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“The Inevitable Solar School: Building the Sustainable School of the Future, Today” describes the two major forces that are driving public and private schools and other buildings to solar energy. These forces are the recognition of climate change and the cost advantage of on-site solar energy. Either force would be sufficient reason on its own to change the school market, but in combination they become indominable.

Sustainability has emerged as a widely accepted theme in school building design. Daylight and views, indoor air quality, responsible life-cycle materials selection, and energy and water efficiency are expected features. This book adds on-site solar energy, sufficient in many instances to meet all of a school’s energy requirement, as a critical element of sustainability. The zero energy school is the sustainable school of the future.

Contrary to common expectations, zero energy sustainable schools are being built at costs that are competitive with regional school cost averages. This outcome requires teamwork between school administrators and their design and construction professionals, and the use of deliberate planning and procurement processes. Five case studies spanning the U.S. demonstrate that the sustainable school of the future is here today.


Mark Hanson:

Mark Hanson is an innovator in the design and construction of sustainable commercial buildings including schools. A portfolio of buildings designed and built through collaborative team efforts at Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction and informed by his background at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Energy Center of Wisconsin, serve as a laboratory for exploring the path forward for solar schools.