Six school districts in California, Colorado and Virginia will collaborate on the Department of Energy’s 2016 Better Buildings Zero Energy School Accelerator program to develop zero energy designs that are cost-competitive for construction in the education sector and in local communities across the nation. Minnesota and California state schools also are involved in the initiative. Participants must develop their own plans for a zero-energy project within a year, and can leverage support from regional and national organizations such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, New Buildings Institute and the National Association of State Energy Officials. 

The accelerator program is part of the broader Better Buildings initiative, which aims to make commercial, public, industrial and residential building 20 percent more energy efficient by 2021.