If you are an administrator of a school, you understand the critical importance of controlling costs. Especially now when energy costs are experiencing monthly increases and represent a large portion of your budget. With this in mind, we offer our school energy-saving tips to help you manage costs and be more energy efficient.
Not every suggestion will apply to your specific school, but each tip does offer the potential to lower your energy bill quickly. While some recommendations require modest investments, many cost virtually nothing to implement and are generally feasible for most schools.
To reduce school energy costs there are different factors you should consider. Above all, you need to assess the needs of your students and staff when it comes to making a plan that helps you cut energy costs where you need it the most.
Let’s discuss the school energy-saving tips that will help you lower costs and increase energy efficiency.
School Energy-Saving Tips Overview
The annual energy bill for U.S. K-12 education is $6 billion, more than the total spending on textbooks and computers. In addition, less efficient schools spend three times more energy than the best energy performers. So, implementing school energy-saving tips offer economic, educational, and environmental benefits.
Energy costs directly impact K-12 teaching and learning because it takes financial resources away from the core mission of teaching and learning. Therefore, by improving energy efficiency, schools can improve the students’ learning environment through building improvements and other upgrades.
Our school energy-saving tips come from the perspective of the way you currently administer your school. In other words, what your staff and students do daily greatly influences school energy efficiency.
School administrators need to ask themselves when they look to be more energy efficient, what is their starting baseline? In short, if you are not aware of how you are consuming and spending energy then you need to ask yourself three questions:
- What is your current energy consumption?
- What should it be?
- What could it be?
If your staff and students constantly waste energy in your school, you add unnecessary costs to your budget. Consequently there is a negative impact on the educational experience and additional demand on the environment.
We have classified our school energy-saving tips into five categories: management, lighting, office equipment, climate control, and building. Let us discuss this in greater detail.
Energy Saving Tips - Management
School administrators know that it takes a lot to manage an educational organization of staff, students, and parents. Specifically it begins with the process of educating your broad community to the school’s energy consumption that they are responsible for.
Education & Reminders
You are responsible for the administration of your school and the daily protocols of how your staff and students operate. So to be successful in your energy-efficiency plans, your staff and students need to understand and execute them.
Consequently, they need a handbook with the energy-efficiency protocols, training, and visual reminders posted throughout their school areas to follow them.
Delegation & Ownership
Designate an Energy Czar that is your empowered official energy advocate. In short, the Energy Czar is your voice to the district superintendent and school board with regular reports to you and administration.
Perform an energy audit of your school to ensure that you are using energy efficiently. For example, utility companies often offer this type of program to help identify areas to reduce energy usage.
Energy-Saving Tips - Lighting
An average K-12 school uses 26% of its energy in lighting. Since this is one of the highest usage of energy, here are convenient ways to reduce energy consumption in your school and lower your energy bill.
Convert older lamps and bulbs for an LED alternative. In brief, LEDs offer longer lifespans, lower energy consumption, and higher quality light than older bulb models.
T8 fluorescent lighting is a simple way to reduce energy consumption since it can be substituted for older, less efficient fluorescent bulbs. They are up to 25% more efficient and can be swapped out in a matter of minutes. Plus, they can be used in any location including overhead lighting in the cafeteria, classrooms, and storage areas.
Turn Off When Not In Use
Establish a power schedule for your staff and student areas for startup and shutdown. When there is downtime between activities, turn off the lighting and then on when activities resume.
Use intelligent timers for your interior and exterior lighting and consider solar-power outdoor lighting.
Energy-Saving Tips - Office Equipment
An average K-12 school uses 20% of its energy in office equipment. Given that this is third highest usage of energy, here are school energy-saving tips for your staff and students to be disciplined in their use of office equipment when not in use.
Energy Saving Equipment
Acquire energy-saving business equipment as needed. For instance this could include equipment such as a paper-saving printer, efficient desk lamps and other similar tools.
Turn Off When Not In Use
Switch off all printers, scanners, computers, microwaves, lights, air conditioners, vending machines nights, weekends or holidays. Specifically they continue to draw power even if they are plugged in.
Put Computer To Sleep
The hibernate feature in laptops and desktops allows you to save your existing work while in a low-power mode. What’s more, schedule it to switch to hibernate mode after working hours and weekends
Energy-Saving Tips -Climate Control
Control The Temperature
Controlling the room temperature is crucial to saving on your energy bill. For example, a 1-degree increase in setting will use 15% more energy. While every 1-degree decrease will use 10% more energy. Moreover, there’s no need for areas rarely used, such as storage, cleaning rooms, special function areas, etc.
Consequently, invest in a Smart Thermostat that can be programmed remotely and is tamper-resistant to prevent unauthorized adjustments.
An HVAC system will decline in performance without regular maintenance. Specifically, schedule “pre-season” tune-ups before each cooling and heating season. As a result, your business will save energy and money, and extend the lifetime of the HVAC system with minimal investment in maintenance.
Just like an auto, regularly clean or change the HVAC filters every month during peak cooling or heating seasons. When used, more air and particles are being run through your HVAC system. As a result, dirty HVAC filters cost more to use (lower energy efficiency), overwork the equipment (shorten the life-cycle), and result in lower indoor air quality.
Help Mother Nature
Installing top and side awnings (think tree shading) near your entrance or a vestibule will protect your school from the sun’s rays. As a result, there is less demand for your HVAC cooling system, producing a more comfortable climate for your staff and students while lowering energy costs.
Energy Saving Tips - Building
School administrators know that it takes a lot to run a successful educational facility. Besides your investments in reducing your energy costs, education, training, information, and advice will also help to devote more financial resources to its core mission of teaching and learning.
If a school area is not being used, then minimize energy usage. For example, using occupancy sensors will automatically turn off the lights when no one is in the room such as classrooms and common areas.
Leaving doors open to an empty building or classroom may be inviting, but it wastes energy. Also, encourage staff and students to keep doors and windows closed when heating or air conditioning is running.
Artificial lights consume energy, while windows and skylights are free. So, use maximum daylight and use artificial lights in areas that are dark. In brief, natural light is your best friend toward your school being more energy efficient.
Whenever possible, turn off the lights and open the blinds to let the sunshine in.
In summer, block direct sunlight, conversely in winter let it in, while covering windows at night. In addition, seal windows and doors with weather-stripping or caulking to prevent leaks. Also, add insulation to reduce energy loss, paint the roof with heat reflective paint, and consider investing in solar panels (often with tax incentives).
School Energy-Saving Tips Conclusion
However you choose to implement these school energy-saving tips, you will be able to see immediate savings in your energy bill. What is more, people often underestimate the little things they do at school, so energy awareness and conservation are important for long-term success.
Not only will you be reducing your energy costs each month, but you will also be promoting a healthy learning environment for your students and staff. In other words, your school benefits from many different aspects the longer it can sustain energy efficiency.