|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
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.
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
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.
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“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.
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