Schools, whether they be colleges or elementary schools, are consuming energy 24/7. The costs of lighting, heating & cooling, powering electronics, and other necessities add up extremely quickly. Even at night when students and teachers are home, the building is consuming electricity to ensure that it’s ready for the next school day.
If you’re a school administrator or other educational official, looking to cut on costs by saving energy at school, it might seem like a daunting task. How to save energy is a simple question with a complex answer. But, there are steps you can take to cut back on energy consumption. We’ve outlined 15 different ways to tackle this problem. Some of them are more simple, like take advantage of natural light, while others are more complicated.
1. Replace inefficient lighting fixtures with new school LEDs
As an LED lighting company, it only makes sense that we begin with this one. But it isn’t in the interest of self-promotion. Although this is likely one of the more intensive and initially expensive solutions that we’ll offer, it is also the one that will have the most dramatic results.
School facilities most often use fluorescent tube lighting in hallways and classrooms. This type of bulb used to be the most efficient option on the market, but with the emergence of LEDs, that’s no longer the case.
2. Install occupancy sensors
Although every part of a school is likely in use at some point during the day, not every room needs to be lit up all day. In hallways, unused classrooms, labs, maintenance closets, and other spaces you can save money by turning off the lights when not in use.
Installing occupancy sensors is a great way to cut back on energy consumption. They turn on when movement is detected and shut off after periods of inactivity. And, you can install these and forget about them. They’ll do their job without you having to worry about constantly turning the lights on and off.
3. Invest in energy management systems
By installing an energy management system, such as a thermostat control and timer, you will be able to more effectively control the heating and cooling systems that your building uses. Although no is one there on holidays and weekends, oftentimes these systems are left running because it’s such a hassle to manually turn them on and off.
Energy management systems allow you to program operating times and eliminate this problem You won’t waste any money heating or cooling unoccupied buildings or rooms, but you’ll still be able to ensure that the building is always ready for use.
4. Clean furnace filters regularly
And, speaking of heating and cooling, there are other ways to cut temperate control costs, aside from having an energy management system. Unless your school building was built recently, it most likely uses a furnace to heat rooms during the winter months. As most people already know, having a dirty filter on any appliance can and will reduce its efficiency. But, having a dirty filter on your furnace will drastically reduce its output.
Luckily, this is an easy problem to fix. According to the US Department of Energy, changing your filter regularly can improve furnace efficiency by up to 15%. That’s a pretty big difference, made by one simple change. All you have to do is give your maintenance team a schedule for changing out the furnace filters, and you’ll see drastic improvements.
5. Don’t forget about the dorms
Although this section is only applicable to colleges, boarding schools, and other educational centers with dormitories, it’s still worth mentioning because it is often forgotten.
Chances are that the students who stay in these dorms aren’t aware or concerned with maximizing energy efficiency. They’re probably just worried about school, and won’t give a second thought to the lighting.
What about in your home?
There are many ways you can save energy and become more sustainable at home. Switching out standard CFL bulbs for LEDs should be top of your list but there are other ways to save energy at home. Many of these mirror the ways you can save energy at school but don’t forget commonly overlook ones like tightening up leaky faucets and upgrading your water heater!