Did you know that the nation’s 17,450, K-12 school districts spend more on energy than on computers and textbooks combined? The annual energy bill for America’s schools is an astonishing $6 billion and unfortunately as much as 30% of that is used either inefficiently or unnecessarily. But don’t despair… that just means there is a lot of room for improvement.It’s easy to put energy savings on the back burner—after all, schools are faced with many more pressing issues such as a lack of resources and improving test scores. But energy improvements made now can free up valuable resources that would’ve been spent on utility bills. Keep reading for some helpful tips on becoming a “cool,” more energy-efficient school.

Heating and cooling
Together, heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy used by schools—in most climates, large, inefficient boilers are the biggest culprit. Replacing over-sized, wasteful heating and cooling units with alternative, high-efficiency systems can equate to energy savings of as much as 50%. Be sure to keep heating and cooling systems clean and properly maintained as clogged vents and dirty air filters can contribute to less efficient use of those systems.

If your school has a pool, simply using a cover can reduce the cost to heat it by up to 70%. You can further lower your heating and cooling bills by keeping your air conditioning system set no lower than 78°and your heat set no higher than 68° while adjusting the thermostat appropriately in evenings, on weekends and during other times when the building is not in use. Or better yet, install programmable thermostats. They will pay for themselves within one heating/cooling season. In fact, a cost-savings of as much as 1% can be seen for each degree the thermostat is adjusted so long as the timeframe is at least eight hours long.

Lighting
After heating, lighting is one of the largest consumers of energy in the classroom. Simply turning out the lights when a classroom is not in use, installing a motion sensor that automatically shuts out the lights when no one is detected in the room or utilizing natural daylight, which has been shown to improve classroom learning, can lead to considerable energy savings.

But don’t stop there. You can cut your lighting bill in half by strategically upgrading your lighting system. Utilizing the most efficient source of lighting, generally high-performance fluorescent systems, and ensuring that the appropriate amount of light is evenly distributed and shed where needed is recommended. The energy savings realized from these improvements can pay for themselves in as little as five years.

Turn it off
One of the easiest ways to reduce your energy bill is to ensure equipment is turned off when not in use. Computers and printers alone can account for as much as 20% of a school’s electricity usage. A simple reminder to “turn it off” printed on a light bulb-shaped sticker or post-it and displayed on light switches, computers, printers, air conditioners, etc. can have a positive effect on your energy bill. In fact, Long Island’s Mount Sinai School District implemented a similar sticker reminder initiative that in part contributed to a reported annual energy savings of $350,000. Free software can also be obtained through the ENERGY STAR® Power Management program that automatically places computers and monitors into a low-power sleep mode. This can provide annual savings of $15-45 per computer.

Get everyone on board with your energy saving initiatives and form a volunteer group of students and staff to go around the school and reward those following best energy-saving practices. Trinkets such as pens made of recycled materials, tumblers with an eco-aware design and globe-shaped stress balls imprinted with an energy saving message can be used to reward those caught responsibly using (or not using) energy.

“Schools: An Overview of Energy Use and Energy Efficiency Opportunities.”Energy Star, n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2012.

Kennedy, Robert. “10 Ways to Reduce Energy Costs.” About.com Private Schools. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2012.

“Energy.gov.” Energy.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2012.

“Energy Efficiency Programs in K-12 Schools.” Environmental Protection Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2012.

Hu, Winnie. “With Post-Its and Checklists, Schools Cut Their Energy Bills.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Aug. 2011. Web. 06 Dec. 2012.

“10. Facility Type: K-12 Schools.” ENERGY STAR. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2012.

“Energy Tips for Schools | Future Energy Solutions.” Energy Tips for Schools | Future Energy Solutions. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

February
Monthly
Adopt a Rescued  Rabbit Month
AMD/Low Visions Awareness Month
American Heart Month
Avocado and Banana Month
Bake for Family Fun Month
Beans (Dried and Fresh Month)
Dog Training Education Month
Exotic Vegetables and Star Fruit Month
February is Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month
From Africa to Virginia Month
Grapefruit Month
International Boost Self Esteem Month
International Expect Success Month
International Hoof-care Month
Jobs in Golf Month
Library Lovers Month
Marfan Syndrome Awareness Month
Marijuana Awareness Month
National African American History Month
National Bird Feeding Month
National Black History Month

National Care about your Indoor Air Month
National Cherry Month
National Condom Month
National Children’s Dental Health Month
National Hot Breakfast Month
National Laugh-Friendly Month
National Mend a Broken Heart Month
National Parent Leadership Month
National Pet Dental Health Month
National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
National Time Management Month
National Weddings Month
Pent Dental Health Month
Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month
Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Week
Relationship Wellness Month
Responsible Pet Owner’s Month
Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month
Spay/Neuter Awareness Month
Spunky Old Broads Month
Sweet Potato Month
Wise Health Care Consumer Month
Worldwide Renaissance of the Heart Month
Youth Leadership Month
Lent: 13-3/30
Weekly
Solo Diners Eat Out Weekend: 1-7
Women’s Heart Week: 1-7
Boy Scout Anniversary Week: 3-9
Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week: 3-9
Dump Your Significant Jerk Week: 3-9
Freelance Writers Appreciation Week: 3-9
Intimate Apparel Week: 4-8
International Networking Week: 4-8
International Friendship Week: 4-8
National School Counseling Week: 4-8
Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week: 7-14
Have a Heart for a Chained Dog Week: 7-14
Risk Awareness Week: 7-14
Love Makes the World Go Round; But, Laughter Keeps Us From Getting Dizzy Week: 8-14 
Celebration of Love Week: 10-16
Children of Alcoholics Week: 10-16
Jell-o Week: 10-16
Love a Mench Week: 10-16
Random Acts of Kindness Week: 10-16
National Green Week: 11-17
World AG Expo: 12-14
World Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Week: 13-19
National Condom Week: 14-21
National NestboxWeek: 14-21
NCCDP Alzheimer’s and Dementia Awareness Week: 14-21
Great Backyard Bird Count: 15-17
National Date Week: 15-24
National Entrepreneurship Week: 16-23
National Future Farmers of America Week: 16-23
Brotherhood / Sisterhood Week: 17-23
Build A Better Trade Show Image Week: 17-23
National Engineers Week: 17-23
National Justice for Animals Week: 17-23
National Conference on Education: 21-23
Read Me Week: 21-25
Texas Cowboy Poetry Week: 22-24
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: 24-3/2
National Secondhand Wardrobe Week: 24-3/2
Telecommuter Appreciation Week: 25-3/4
Peace Corps Week: 27-3/3
Daily
1: Bubble Gum Day
1: Car Insurance Day
1: G.I. Joe Day
1: Hula in the Coola Day
1: Give Kids a Smile Day
1: Freedom Day
1: Robinson Crusoe Day
1: Spunky Old Broads Day
1: Wear Red Day
2: Candelmas
2: Crepe Day or La Chandeleur
2: Groundhog Day
2: Ice Cream for Breakfast Day
2: Marmot Day
2: Groundhog Job Shadow Day
2: Hedgehog Day
2: Imbolic
2: Sled Dog Day
2: Take Your Child to the Library Day
2: World Play Your Ukulele Day
2: World Wetlands Day
3: Four Chaplains Memorial Day
3: The Day the Music Died
3: Dump Your Significant Jerk Day
3: Super Bowl XLVII
4: Liberace Day
4: Quacker Day
4: USO Day
4: World Cancer Day
5: Move Hollywood & Broadway to Lebanon, PA
5: Weatherman’s [Weatherperson’s] Day
5: Western Monarch Day
5: World Nutella® Day
5: African American Coaches Day
6: Digital Learning Day
6: National Girls & Women in Sports Day
7: Ballet Day
7: “e” Day
7: Black HIV/Aids Awareness Day
7: Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor’s Day
8: Boy Scout Anniversary Day
8: Laugh and Get Rich Day
8: Opera Day
8: Tu B’ Shvat
9: National Stop Bullying Day 
9: Read in the Bathtub Day
10: Chinese New Year
10: Man Day
10: Plimsoll Day
10-12: Shrovetide
10: World Marriage Day
11: Be Electrific Day
11: Pro Sports Wives Day
11: National Shut-in Visitation Day
11: Satisfied Staying Single Day
11: White Shirt Day
11: Clean out Your Computer Day
11-12: Westminster Dog Show
12: Extraterrestrial Culture Day
12: Extraterrestrial Visitor Day
12: Darwin Day
12: International Pancake Day
12: Pancake Day
12: Mardi Gras
12: Paczki Day
12: Shrove Tuesday
12: Lincoln’s Birthday
12: NAACP Day
12: Oglethorpe Day
12: Paul Bunyan Day
12: Safety Pup Day
13: Ash Wednesday
13: Employee Legal Awareness Day
13: Get a Different Name Day
13: Madly In Love with Me Day
14: Ferris Wheel Day
14: Frederick Douglass Day
14: Pet Theft Awareness Day
14: Library Lovers Day
14: National Have a Heart Day
14: National Condom Day
14: World Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day
14: League of Women Voters Day
14: National Women’s Hearth Day
14: National Call in Single Day
14: National Donor Day
14: Race Relations Day
14: Quirky Alone Day
14: Valentine’s Day
14: World Marriage Day
15: Lupercalia
15: Remember the Maine Day
15: Susan B. Anthony Day
15: National Gum Drop Day
16: Innovation Day
16: Kyoto Protocol Day
17: My Way Day
17: National PTA Founders Day
17: World Human Spirit Day
18: Battery Day
18: Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane Day
18: Pluto Day
18: Presidents Day
19: Chocolate Mint Day
19: Iwo Jima Day
19: Single Tasking Day
20: Love Your Pet Day
20: Northern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day
20: World Day for Social Justice
21: International Mothers Language Day
21: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
21” Ta’Anit Esther
22: National Margarita Day
22: Woolworth’s Day
22: World Thinking Day
22: George Washington’s Birthday
23: Curling is Cool Day
23: Diesel Engine Day
23: Iwo Jima Day (Flag Raised)
23: International Sword Swallowers
23: Open that Bottle Night
23: Purim
24: Academy Awards Night
24: Daytona 500
26: National Personal Chef’s Day
26: For Pete’s Sake Day
26: Levi Strauss Day
26: Spay Day USA
27: Inconvenience Yourself Day
28: Floral Design Day
28: National Chili Day
28: National Tooth Fairy Day
28: Rare Disease Day
March
Monthly
Adopt a Rescued  Rabbit Month
AMD/Low Visions Awareness Month
American Heart Month
Avocado and Banana Month
Bake for Family Fun Month
Beans (Dried and Fresh Month)
Dog Training Education Month
Exotic Vegetables and Star Fruit Month
February is Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month
From Africa to Virginia Month
Grapefruit Month
International Boost Self Esteem Month
International Expect Success Month
International Hoof-care Month
Jobs in Golf Month
Library Lovers Month
Marfan Syndrome Awareness Month
Marijuana Awareness Month
National African American History Month
National Bird Feeding Month
National Black History Month
National Care about your Indoor Air Month
National Cherry Month
National Condom Month
National Children’s Dental Health Month
National Hot Breakfast Month
National Laugh-Friendly Month
National Mend a Broken Heart Month
National Parent Leadership Month
National Pet Dental Health Month
National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
National Time Management Month
National Weddings Month
Pent Dental Health Month
Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month
Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Week
Relationship Wellness Month
Responsible Pet Owner’s Month
Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month
Spay/Neuter Awareness Month
Spunky Old Broads Month
Sweet Potato Month
Wise Health Care Consumer Month
Worldwide Renaissance of the Heart Month
Youth Leadership Month
Lent: 13-3/30
Weekly
Solo Diners Eat Out Weekend: 1-7
Women’s Heart Week: 1-7
Boy Scout Anniversary Week: 3-9
Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week: 3-9
Dump Your Significant Jerk Week: 3-9
Freelance Writers Appreciation Week: 3-9
Intimate Apprel Week: 4-8
International Networking Week: 4-8
International Friendship Week: 4-8
National School Counseling Week: 4-8
Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week: 7-14
Have a Heart for a Chained Dog Week: 7-14
Risk Awareness Week: 7-14 
Love Makes the World Go Round; But, Laughter Keeps Us From Getting Dizzy Week: 8-14
Celebration of Love Week: 10-16
Children of Alcoholics Week: 10-16
Jell-o Week: 10-16
Love a Mench Week: 10-16
Random Acts of Kindness Week: 10-16
National Green Week: 11-17
World AG Expo: 12-14
World Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awarenes Week: 13-19
National Condom Week: 14-21
National NestboxWeek: 14-21
NCCDP Alzheimer’s and Dementia Awareness Week: 14-21
Great Backyard Bird Count: 15-17
National Date Week: 15-24
National Entrepreneurship Week: 16-23
National Future Farmers of America Week: 16-23
Brotherhood / Sisterhood Week: 17-23
Build A Better Trade Show Image Week: 17-23
National Engineers Week: 17-23
National Justice for Animals Week: 17-23
National Conference on Education: 21-23
Read Me Week: 21-25
Texas Cowboy Poetry Week: 22-24
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: 24-3/2
National Secondhand Wardrobe Week: 24-3/2
Telecommuter Appreciation Week: 25-3/4
Peace Corps Week: 27-3/3
Daily
1: Bubble Gum Day
1: Car Insurance Day
1: G.I. Joe Day
1: Hula in the Coola Day
1: Give Kids a Smile Day
1: Freedom Day
1: Robinson Crusoe Day
1: Spunky Old Broads Day
1: Wear Red Day
2: Candelmas
2: Crepe Day or La Chandeleur
2: Groundhog Day
2: Ice Cream for Breakfast Day
2: Marmot Day
2: Groundhog Job Shadow Day
2: Hedgehog Day
2: Imbolic
2: Sled Dog Day
2: Take Your Child to the Library Day
2: World Play Your Ukulele Day
2: World Wetlands Day
3: Four Chaplains Memorial Day
3: The Day the Music Died
3: Dump Your Significant Jerk Day
3: Super Bowl XLVII
4: Liberace Day
4: Quacker Day
4: USO Day
4: World Cancer Day
5: Move Hollywood & Broadway to Lebanon, PA
5: Weatherman’s [Weatherperson’s] Day
5: Western Monarch Day
5: World Nutella Day
5: African American Coaches Day
6: Digital Learning Day
6: National Girls & Women in Sports Day
7: Ballet Day
7: “e” Day
7: Black HIV/Aids Awareness Day
7: Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor’s Day
8: Boy Scout Anniversary Day
8: Laugh and Get Rich Day
8: Opera Day
8: Tu B’ Shvat
9: National Stop Bullying Day
9: Read in the Bathtub Day
10: Chinese New Year
10: Man Day
10: Plimsoll Day
10-12: Shrovetide
10: World Marriage Day
11: Be Electrific Day
11: Pro Sports Wives Day
11: National Shut-in Visitation Day
11: Satisfied Staying Single Day
11: White Shirt Day
11: Clean out Your Computer Day
11-12: Westminster Dog Show
12: Extraterrestrial Culture Day
12: Extraterrestrial Visitor Day
12: Darwin Day
12: International Pancake Day
12: Pancake Day
12: Mardi Gras
12: Paczki Day
12: Shrove Tuesday
12: Lincoln’s Birthday
12: NAACP Day
12: Oglethorpe Day
12: Paul Bunyan Day
12: Safety Pup Day
13: Ash Wednesday
13: Employee Legal Awareness Day
13: Get a Different Name Day
13: Madly In Love with Me Day
14: Ferris Wheel Day
14: Frederick Douglass Day
14: Pet Theft Awareness Day
14: Library Lovers Day
14: National Have a Heart Day
14: National Condom Day
14: World Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day
14: League of Women Voters Day
14: National Women’s Hearth Day
14: National Call in Single Day
14: National Donor Day
14: Race Relations Day 
14: Quirky Alone Day
14: Valentine’s Day
14: World Marriage Day
15: Lupercalia
15: Remember the Maine Day
15: Susan B. Anthony Day
15: National Gum Drop Day
16: Innovation Day
16: Kyoto Protocol Day
17: My Way Day
17: National PTA Founders Day
17: World Human Spirit Day
18: Battery Day
18: Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane Day
18: Pluto Day
18: Presidents Day
19: Chocolate Mint Day
19: Iwo Jima Day
19: Single Tasking Day
20: Love Your Pet Day
20: Northern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day
20: World Day for Social Justice
21: International Mothers Language Day
21: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
21” Ta’Anit Esther
22: National Margarita Day
22: Woolworth’s Day
22: World Thinking Day
22: George Washington’s Birthday
23: Curling is Cool Day
23: Diesel Engine Day
23: Iwo Jima Day (Flag Raised)
23: International Sword Swallowers
23: Open that Bottle Night
23: Purim
24: Academy Awards Night
24: Daytona 500
26: National Personal Chef’s Day
26: For Pete’s Sake Day
26: Levi Strauss Day
26: Spay Day USA
27: Inconvenience Yourself Day
28: Floral Design Day
28: National Chili Day
28: National Tooth Fairy Day
28: Rare Disease Day
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