Design of energy-efficient K-12 schools is an important segment of the building industry at present, and organizations around the country are taking a variety of actions to assist architects, lighting designers, and specifiers in the task.

Recently, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) released a publication written specifically for K-12 school buildings intended to assist design teams in constructing energy-smart schools using off-the-shelf technology that can cut energy use 30 percent or more annually. "The Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings" was published by ASHRAE in partnership with AIA, IESNA, USGBC, and the U.S. Department of Energy. It specifically recommends daylighting applications and energy-efficient lighting systems. The guide is available for download free at

Bringing its total financial investment into green building research grants to $2 million, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has committed an additional $1 million for grants in 2008, and has earmarked $500,000 of it for K-12 school facility research related to occupant impacts. The Green Building Research Fund is intended to spur research that will advance sustainable building practices and encourage market transformation. Pre-proposal abstracts for grants will be accepted from Feb. 12 through March 6, 2008. For more information, visit