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Going Beyond Net Zero in the Nation's Capital - DCPS, Sustainability & Wellness

April 5, 10:15 to 11:15 am

Silver Spring Civic Building, Ellsworth Room, & Online

Approved for 1.0 general GBCI CE & 1.0 AIA LU



Janice Szymanski, Modernization Portfolio Manager, DC Department of General Services

Juan Guarin, Sustainability Specialist, Perkins Eastman

Omar Calderon, Principal, Perkins Eastman

Tony Hans, National Director of Sustainable Projects, CMTA



This August (2021) the first two schools targeting Net Zero Energy in the District of Columbia opened their doors. This event announced a new generation of high performance schools in the nation's capital, and it also marks the beginning of a new approach to the design of schools for a post-Pandemic world. In setting new benchmarks for building performance across a district's inventory, these two schools not only target dramatic energy reduction to enhance a single building's performance, they will demonstrate how the district is moving beyond thinking of NZE buildings in isolation.


At the same time, these buildings are designed to also enhance user performance. Leveraging the rigor and resources of the NZE process the team pushed the design beyond enhanced building performance to also target enhanced educational outcomes. Using LEED's Integrative Process for Health Promotion and the WELL criteria, the design is tailored to enhance student and teacher satisfaction and wellness. These synergies between NZE and wellness have resulted in one of the two schools, John Lewis Elementary, being projected to become the first Net Zero Energy and WELL-certified school in the world.


The team will use video, animation, and even an on-line building tour, to discuss the net zero energy pursuit process for both of these schools - Banneker AHS and John Lewis ES - from project conception through design, construction, and the very beginnings of occupancy to tell the full picture of lessons learned and challenges along the way. This discussion will illustrate how DCPS, the DC Department of General Services, and the design and construction team are leveraging Net Zero Energy processes and tools to redefine sustainable, high performance learning environments for our urban schools in a post-COVID world.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the challenges of pursuing Net Zero Energy on urban school sites and how to overcome them.

  2. Learn how Net Zero Energy process can be leveraged to enhance occupant health and wellness.

  3. Learn how Net Zero Energy can result in "Net Positive Education."

  4. Understand the synergies derived from considering Net Zero Energy across the portfolio.


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