The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that educational facilities are among the top five highest energy consuming commercial buildings. Overall, they account for approximately 10% of all commercial energy consumption. The Department of Energy also reports that heating and cooling makes up approximately 35% of a building’s total energy usage. That number could actually be higher in schools, which often have very high ceilings and are poorly insulated. A frequently overlooked source of air loss is in your duct system.
Just how much money could your school be wasting on heating and cooling because of faulty ductwork? Here is some information you need to know.
Your school’s ductwork is a very large network that allows conditioned air to pass from your HVAC system to numerous points within your facility. The duct system may develop a number of problems that would subsequently result in air loss. A few of the problems you may encounter include:
These problems often go undetected in school systems. Teachers and administrators are often too busy to notice ductwork in classrooms and hallways. Your maintenance staff already have their hands full just trying to keep up with your grounds; they therefore do not have time to inspect your ductwork. In many cases, the only way to determine if you do indeed have a duct leak is to have a professional HVAC inspection performed.
According to the Department of Energy, when ducts leak hot air into unheated spaces, it can cost a homeowner hundreds of dollars per year. The cost could be greatly multiplied in schools, which are far larger and have a more complex duct system. Accordingly, one could easily assume the potential dollars lost could reach into the thousands or even tens of thousands annually.
A report from Xcel Energy tends to back this notion up. They have released a report showing that school districts spend more than $6 billion each year on energy. This amounts to an average of $0.67 per square foot on electricity and $0.19 per square foot on gas. Forbes claims that the amount schools spend on energy is actually closer to $8 billion, and is the second largest expenses after teacher salaries.
The Building Codes Assistance Project claims that it is important for ducts to maintain a consistent temperature as much as possible in order to improve efficiency. When ducts reside outside temperature-controlled locations, the subsequent leakage therefore decreases their efficiency by up to 40%. The leaked air would then be spilled out into the unconditioned areas rather than being funneled into inhabited spaces such as classrooms or offices.
Energy Star reports that between 20 and 30 percent of all air that moves through a duct system is lost due to leaks. They claim by sealing and insulating ducts, you could notice greater energy savings, better indoor air quality, and improved safety.
Repairing leaky ductwork is considerably less expensive than installing a new duct system. At the same time, your school could save a significant amount of money, in which case the repairs might actually pay for themselves. They will also provide a safer environment for children to learn in.
If your school is struggling with high energy bills and a lack of temperature control, leaking ductwork could be to blame. Contact us today here at Energy Optimizers USA to learn what you can do to stop the air loss and begin saving money.
DAYTON, Ohio, Feb. 26, 2020 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Energy Optimizers, USA (EOU) is proud to announce that it has been selected by the Ohio Council of Educational Purchasing Consortia (OCEPC) and its six purchasing co-operatives as the sole provider for its LED Lighting and Energy Savings Program for the third year of the program.
OCEPC – Energy Optimizers, USA
School districts and local governments across the state can now partner with EOU to develop and implement LED lighting, energy savings, and facility improvement projects. More than 450,000 students will benefit from the partnership. Competitive bidding has already been completed, reducing project costs and providing faster design and implementation.
Since 2009, Energy Optimizers, USA has worked with communities to increase energy efficiency in schools, government facilities, businesses, and more. EOU is proud to have the chance to work with school districts and local governments in Ohio to create innovative solutions to improve their facilities.
Implementing LED lights in classrooms not only cuts down on costs for schools and taxpayers, but it also creates a better learning environment for students and teachers alike.
“We are so pleased that the board members of the OCEPC have great confidence in our program, and that the results delivered both meet and exceed their project goals,” said Belinda Kenley, vice president of business development.
More than $17 million in energy savings projects have been sold to Ohio schools and public entities utilizing this program since 2018.
School administrators seeking either energy savings or facility improvement projects or funding for these projects can reach out to Energy Optimizers, USA by phone at (937) 877-1919 or by emailing Belinda Kenley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their experienced team of engineers and analysts will first perform an energy audit to understand the district’s immediate facility issues. The team will then strategize and present multiple recommendations on how the district can save money while also improving its facilities.
Indoor air quality is often a topic of discussion, but it’s not always brought up in the context of schools. The fact is that poor indoor air quality is a problem in many schools, especially older buildings. A study in 2014 revealed that the average age of school buildings in the nation is 55.
So, what impact does poor air quality have on students (and teachers?) It can have a number of negative impacts:
Health problems are more likely to be caused by indoor air quality problems if symptoms are only noticeable when the child is at school or if complaints are associated with particular times of the day or week. If children are reluctant to go to school or saying they “hate” school then that may indicate an issue, especially with younger children who may not realize the root cause of their feelings.
In other words, poor indoor air quality can affect just about every aspect of your child’s education and can result in a lower GPA, higher absenteeism, and children not getting into the college they want or even, in some cases, graduating on time.
There may only be a limited amount schools can do when dealing with aging infrastructure and other “high dollar” items. However, there are a few things school administrators…and even students and teachers can do:
Indoor air quality has a significant effect on a student’s ability to learn and a teacher’s ability to be effective. This translates to lower test scores and GPAs, and to students not being able to reach their goals. It can also contribute to staff absenteeism and staff turnover. If you suspect indoor air quality problems in your school, contact Energy Optimizers today for an energy audit to help you improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency in your building(s).
Good indoor air quality in a commercial building or school is a must for keeping employees and students comfortable and healthy. When the air inside a building is unhealthy, people can suffer from health problems, such as throat irritations, headaches and fatigue. That’s why it’s a good idea to add an economizer to a building’s HVAC system. Here are four basic benefits of an HVAC economizer, along with some considerations and warnings.
Maybe you’ve heard about economizers but aren’t quite sure what they are. An economizer is a mechanical device or heat exchanger that’s designed to reduce energy consumption. As part of an outdoor HVAC system, an economizer usually mounts on the roof of commercial buildings and schools.
Put simply, economizers work by drawing in outdoor air. When outdoor air levels are favorable, an economizer uses the outside air for cooling a building. In other words, an economizer is able to detect the correct level of air to usher inside a building.
The internal dampers on an economizer open after the outdoor air temperature drops below the air temperature that’s inside the building. These dampers do more than just control how much air is pulled into a building. They also recirculate and exhaust air out of the building. Besides dampers, an HVAC economizer is made up of other components, including sensors, controls, linkages and actuations. These parts all work together in recirculating and exhausting air from a building.
There are several advantages for adding an economizer. Probably the biggest benefit of having an economizer is that it improves the quality of indoor air by increasing ventilation. Consider how older schools and other buildings, in addition to some newer ones, fail to prioritize ventilation in their construction. By drawing in fresh air and expelling stale air out of a building, an economizer can make a huge difference in air quality.
Another significant perk of an economizer is that it reduces the workload on your HVAC system. As a result, this device can extend the lifespan of your HVAC unit. Furthermore, as a result of less wear and tear on your HVAC unit, there’s less upkeep. Because of less maintenance and breakdowns, your HVAC system can last longer.
Sometimes, HVAC equipment already contains an economizer built into it. But if your HVAC unit doesn’t have an economizer, an HVAC specialist can easily add one. Fortunately, it’s simple to install an economizer, and it doesn’t involve much space since these devices aren’t that large as they’re moderately sized. Also, adding an economizer doesn’t entail a lot of mechanical or structural work.
Is your building’s energy bill is out of control, especially during hot summer months? If so, you can reduce what you spend on energy costs by installing an economizer. Consider how an economizer can provide free cooling for your building by pulling in outdoor air. By drawing cool outside air into your building, there’s less mechanical refrigeration. In fact, using an economizer can save you as much as 24 to 35 percent on your energy bill.
If your school or commercial building doesn’t have an economizer, you may be paying a significant amount of money for energy costs. Regardless of your energy needs, our energy professionals can help. Contact us to find out more about our wide range of services.
Energy efficiency has become the big buzzword in connection with fighting climate change. And the larger your scale of energy use is, the bigger an impact you can have by making changes. While some changes are bigger than others (and some will require more of a long-term investment versus short-term upgrades), it’s important to consider all the options. Because cutting energy use means saving money on your monthly bills; it also improves your image, and helps you take your position as a community leader on an issue affecting everyone.
It’s basic energy efficiency policy to ensure that lights are turned off when no one is in the room; most offices, classrooms, etc. will have multiple banks of lights so you can only turn on a few of them to provide lighting for after hours cleaning, pre-workday setup, things like that. However, it’s important to go a step further when you can. Ask what changes you can make to your lighting system to improve energy use, and save money simultaneously.
For example, even if you’re only using them when you really need them, incandescent light bulbs are one of the most inefficient types of lighting on the market today. By replacing these bulbs with LED lights, you immediately cut your lighting energy demand by 90 percent according to Energy Star. The bigger your operation is, and the more lights you use, the bigger a change this is going to make. Don’t forget that LED lights can last for several years once you screw them in; that’s going to have a noticeable effect on your monthly operating budget.
Some of your biggest energy expenses are going to come from your heating and cooling system. They are a necessity for providing a comfortable environment; but there are things you can do to ease the burden they place on the power grid.
One small thing you can do include acquiring automated thermostats. These ensure you’re holding steady temperatures without any fiddling with the controls. Additionally, ensuring that vents are closed and doors are shut in areas of the building that aren’t being used helps minimize the draw on your system, and cut down on the energy you’re using. Proper cleaning and maintenance will also help ensure minimal issues, and wasted energy as SRP points out.
If you have the budget for larger changes, then installing updated, Energy Star grade appliances can make a big difference. Everything from furnaces to kitchen appliances can be streamlined and made to do more with less in terms of energy. And for those who want to start making the transition away from fossil fuels, then moving from gas-based to electricity-based appliances is a step in the right direction.
Another big draw on energy for any business or school is going to be the equipment used in the office. These tools are necessary to keep daily operations going; but it’s important to step back and ask what you’re using, and how you’re using it.
For instance, are computers set to go into energy efficient power saving mode once idle? Or do they simply run at full-functionality until someone turns them off? Do you have sleek laptops that can be used in the field as well as at a desk? Or do you have old, outdated desktops that use several times the energy of a more recent model? Do you have dozens of printers and copiers in service? You could, instead, create centralized hubs to use less energy.
While buying newer, more energy efficient tools is always a good option, sometimes you can save energy through establishing new policies as well. For example, attempting to go paperless may create more digital documents, but it will also reduce the need for copiers, toner, paper, ink, etc. Even if it’s something as small as posting the lunch menu on the school’s website, or circulating memos digitally, lots of little changes can have a big impact.
For more information on how you can cut your energy costs, simply contact us today!
Lighting is a critical aspect of any building, facility, or establishment. In today’s market, there are many lighting options to choose from, ranging from traditional incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), halogens, to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Over time, LEDs have become the most preferred lighting options in schools, libraries, and government buildings and for the right reasons. Not only do they save money, time, and energy, but they also conserve the environment. Here are seven reasons why you should consider making the switch to LEDs:
LEDs consume far much less energy than other lighting technologies like halogens and fluorescents. They lose far less of their energy to heat, with the rest converted to light. Because of their minimal energy consumption, LEDs emit less heat, making them a perfect choice in buildings that heat up. Less heat production means less demand for conditioning and cooling systems.
LED bulbs have a superior operational life compared to other forms of lighting. The average LED lasts over 50,000 hours, which is up to 25 times longer than incandescent and halogen bulbs, and up to 3 times longer than CFLs. Some LEDs can even last up to 200,000 hours. Additionally, LEDs do not contain glass bulbs or filaments, and this adds to their durability.
There are several ways in which LEDs help the environment. The first is that unlike CFLs and fluorescents, LEDs do not contain highly toxic mercury. And this helps to reduce the toxic waste generated during disposal of these lighting technologies. LEDs also last a very long time, which translates to less waste in the form of packaging, transportation, and disposal. The other way in which LEDs are environmentally friendly is through direct energy conservation. Since they use less energy, it means energy demand and use goes down, therefore minimizing the carbon footprint.
For many years, LEDs had been on the higher end of the price range spectrum, but not anymore. As the years go by, LEDs continue to make significant gains on the cost of traditional bulbs, making them affordable to most consumers. Additionally, once you switch to LEDs, you will experience a substantial decrease in your energy bills, and this will translate to direct energy cost savings.
Not only do LEDs lower your energy consumption, but they also reduce your maintenance costs. Unlike traditional lighting sources that suddenly fail, LEDs don’t abruptly stop functioning. Besides, they don’t require significant maintenance. This feature, in addition to the long life span of LEDs, saves you time and money you would typically spend on servicing and repairs.
LEDs are designed to have the same light quality throughout their lifespan. An LED that is rated 50,000 hours will not go out after that time expires. But will subsequently begin to lose its brightness until you can’t use it anymore. The microchip technology that LEDs use instead of a heated filament is what allows the bulbs to maintain light quality. You can be confident that your lights will not suddenly start to flicker over time.
Traditional bulbs are known to produce a nice warm light. With LEDs, on the other hand, you can achieve any ambiance on the hue temperature charts. What’s more, LEDs are also semiconductor devices—which means you can control them using dimmer switches. Subsequently, the dimmer switches allow you to dim your facility lighting fixtures to up to 10% of their optimum output, helping you create a much softer light.
Ultimately, switching your facility’s lighting system to LED will be a decision you will not regret. You will see a direct impact on the functionality of the lighting system and the electricity bills. To know what steps you require to make the switch, you may need an energy audit of your school or facility. Contact Energy Optimizers for energy audits, recommendations, and implementation of energy-saving techniques that will save you tens or hundreds of dollars in electricity bills.
Overseeing campus facilities and maintaining them is a significant concern for higher education institutions. And often, such a challenge can get out of hand—especially when you fail to secure adequate financing to match the need.
Subsequently, it’s encouraging for colleges and universities to know that Ohio’s House Bill 7 (HB7) takes the necessary steps to provide for a funding mechanism. Under the provisions, these institutions can undertake facility upgrades and finance the project through energy savings over a span of 20 years.
By leveraging on the support of this legislation, colleges and universities can substantially keep costs at an arms-length while equally improving campus facilities.
Let’s take a look at the MUST-HAVES to qualify for the program.
In addition, by the completion time of the project, your institution must comply with one of two energy efficiency codes:
1) Exceed current ASHRAE efficiency benchmarks by a minimum of 30%, or;
2) Attain a national energy performance rating above 77 in accordance with EPA’s Energy Star ratings and as collaborated by a professional engineer.
What do you need to know about HB-264 K-12 School Energy Performance Contracting? This law allows school districts to make pertinent remodeling of their structures and utilize the cost savings to cover for the improvements—as such, districts can finance without the concern of passing a ballot issue in pursuit of the authority to borrow.
The SPC program references “energy conservation measures” as any installation, modification, or remodeling of an existing campus building aiming at reducing energy consumption.
What types of modifications does the program cover?
For purposes of clarity, the payment dues for these energy-saving installations emanate from the savings accruing from the systems over time. So, in essence, the state is financing your equipment and project. And as such, your school district makes sizable improvements to buildings with pretty much no up-front cost.
To begin with, the institution’s board must engage a licensed architect, engineer, or accomplished energy conservation firm such as Energy Optimizers, to develop a report detailing analysis and propositions of energy conservation measures. Fundamentally, these initiatives must significantly make cuts on energy consumption and operating costs.
Equally important, the report details the financing and costs attached to such actions. Moreover, it projects how much the above-mentioned costs will reduce. This approach takes into consideration the energy consumption for no less than one year. Else, the energy conservation measures ought to save in energy, operational, plus maintenance expenditures over 15 years—an equivalent sum or amount exceeding the total outlay of implementation.
Duly, the school board should produce a “school energy proposal” and then present the script for review to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC). Once the documents get approval, the work commences. Besides the ongoing work documented in the proposal, K-12 school districts in the program must avail yearly savings reports to the OFCC.
Are you looking for a personalized service that will enable you to develop a project tailored to your needs? At Energy Optimizers, USA, we take extra steps to reduce project costs—leveraging on local vendors, your staff, plus our proficiency. This approach to service makes us an excellent match for your project. We’re here to help. Contact us today.
Becoming part of the clean energy movement is a worthy cause. It helps save the planet we call home, after all. It provides hope for future generations. Businesses and schools all across the US are making the change and reducing the amount of pollution entering our atmosphere. Energy efficient upgrades are also beneficial to the people using them, since it saves you money in the long run. It’s an easy choice, a win-win situation. There’s just one small snag. Upfront costs that accompany these energy efficient upgrades often cause schools and businesses to shy away from making the change. There are numerous benefits to using energy efficient upgrades and services, but when facing the initial costs, you might find yourself asking if it’s really worth it and if it’s something you can financially handle. Utility rebates can help defray these costs.
Once upon a time, climate change was nothing more than a hypothetical situation, a post-apocalyptic scenario that we’d never have to deal with in our lifetime. Things have changed. Every day we are forced to face the effects of climate change. The planet is hurting, and we’re finally starting to pay attention. It’s not just small businesses and citizens that are taking a stand and making Eco-Friendly changes in their day-to-day lives. Electric and gas companies are taking huge strides when it comes to Green Energy packages and Energy Efficient incentives. This is good news for you if you’re thinking about implementing energy monitoring services and LED lighting upgrades.
We don’t have to tell you that making these changes will benefit you long term. You know that you’ll see your initial investment returned within two or three years. Your financial concerns aren’t for the future; they’re for the here and now. And that’s where electric and gas companies that care about saving the planet come to your rescue.
Utility rebates are part of a program to support renewable energy and energy efficient upgrades. They’re administered by states, municipal utilities, organizations, and electric cooperatives. And the good news is, they can save you a lot of money as you take your first steps towards energy efficiency. As the need for Eco-Friendly changes and clean energy initiatives increase, many companies and organizations have begun offering financial incentives for businesses looking to decrease pollution and implement energy efficient programs.
As your school or business decides to take that first, and vitally important step towards clean energy, you should conduct a search of companies offering utility rebates for those making an Eco-Friendly change. Thankfully, it should be pretty easy. Most gas and electric companies in the State of Ohio offer clean energy incentives. It’s important to make a call or check online before implementing lighting upgrades or energy monitoring services to see which companies do and don’t offer these incentives.
You can breathe deep and release a lot of stress knowing that by taking advantage of utility rebates, you are not only part of the clean energy movement that will help save our planet, but you will start seeing savings a lot faster. Plus, your proposed energy project look much more viable to anyone whose approval you may need to get the ball rolling. Now that really is a win-win situation.
Every step in the right direction makes a difference. Every Eco-Friendly change you make can help save a dying planet. And that includes changing the way you use energy.
Like you, we care about this beautiful planet we call home. We want to leave a clean and vibrant world for future generations. We offer several services, such as Solar PPA (power purchase agreement) an LED lighting and energy service program, HVAC equipment and renovations, and of course, utility rebates. To learn more about rebates and the steps you need to take to make our world a little cleaner, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Energy costs are typically one of the highest for any operation, from factories and superstores, to schools and hospitals. If you want to lower your operating costs, and pad your budget with some extra savings, then one of the best ways to do that is by undertaking an energy saving project. Whether it’s getting more efficient lighting, or upgrading your appliances to more energy efficient ones, the changes you make are going to have immediate effects on your monthly bills.
Of course, that won’t be the only thing these projects affect. Which is why, when it comes to energy-saving projects, it’s important to step back and look beyond the immediate impact to how the ripples are going to spread out.
When you look at the potential changes an efficiency or energy-saving project can have, the first thing you ask is how will it change your bills? How much less will you be paying every month based on your current system? How long will those decreased costs take to compensate for the cost of the upgrade?
Those are definitely valid questions, but they’re not the only ones you should be asking in this situation. Some of those other questions are:
These are just a handful of the considerations you should keep in mind when it comes to how an energy-saving project can affect your business. And if you’re an enterprise that’s publicly run (such as a school, government office building, police station, or something similar), then you also need to ask what the public’s opinion is regarding the project. Additionally, ask how much you could save the people funding your operation by being more frugal with your energy costs.
Every decision you make as an organization regarding your energy use is going to have an effect. If you upgrade all at once, for example, you’re going to have a lot of up-front costs. These include the new lighting system, new appliances, or whatever other steps you’re taking. However, you’ll see an immediate decrease in your energy use costs. A gradual upgrade spreads out the up-front costs for new equipment, but also prolongs your energy use; stepping it down gradually instead of dropping your bills all at once.
However, there is another question that a lot of companies and organizations simply don’t ask. What happens if you don’t take the necessary steps to save energy? Because that decision also has more effects than you might think.
Your costs may stay the same if you don’t embark on an energy-saving project, but what could that negatively effect? Are any of your existing systems or appliances old enough that when they break down getting replacement parts is expensive, or outright impossible? Will it negatively impact the perception of your company? That you’re not trying to better yourself in terms of resource usage? How much money will you lose over time because you took no steps to upgrade your current setups and systems?
These are all questions you need to think about the next time you look at your utility costs, because the number on the page is only part of the story. If you’re looking for answers, as well as ways you can start saving energy today, simply contact us today!
The whole exchange starts when you decide to leave your local utility company in search of more affordable and sustainable energy opportunities. Your change in patronage alerts the Utility company; your new retail energy provider knows that responsibility for your energy consumption has shifted. Now the utility power plant is free to generate one less building worth of electricity a day. And your retail provider is ready to generate enough extra to cover your needs.
Once your retail energy provider is aware of your patronage, they will prepare to provide the energy needed to cover your building’s predicted consumption in addition to the power needs of all their other customers. Of course, there are a number of ways increasing output can be achieved; essentially, this is when the retail energy market takes the burden of your power use off the utility power plants. One interesting benefit of the retail energy shift is that it can allow smaller and less efficient utility-company power plants decommission.
Electricity is Fed to the Shared City Grid
However, your retail energy provider does not have or need their own separate grid to keep the Utility electricity separate from their privately generated electricity. As they generate the juice, your retail energy provider feeds the electricity they create onto the shared city power grid. Larger equipment than a private solar-panel owner might use accomplishes this, and far more carefully; but it is essentially the same principle as solar net-metering. Non-utility-company energy goes in and joins the constantly flowing mass of power that the grid is always humming with.
Finally, you may be wondering how this energy you bought gets to your outlets. Your experience won’t change in the least. On the grid, all electricity is equal in fact; whether it comes from the utility power plant, your retail energy provider, or your neighbor’s solar panels. Electrons travel down the wires at a rapid pace. Those wires connect to homes and businesses which spread the current out through the fuse box to the outlets and integrated appliances in each building. Connecting to the current, likewise, pushes more electrons out into your devices; but there’s no guarantee that you will get any specific set of electrons.
The same rate and quality of power will come through your building as it always has. There’s no way to tell which electrons were generated from a specific source. However, the electricity you use is a measurable amount; you are paying for that amount to be generated by an independent producer and supplied by your new retail supplier.
Drawing uninterrupted power from your outlet, it may seem like where you buy energy from is all the same except for the details on paper. This is an easy misconception to make. Where you put your energy business does matter. Your choice, along with the choices of all your colleagues and neighbors, can influence the energy industry as a whole. If you want to see more of the nation’s energy generated sustainably, take your utility budget from the power plants and give it to solar, wind, and natural gas providers. Or invest in your own solar panels and hook up to the grid with net-metering. If you want to see more customer-friendly policies, make your ‘vote’ known by patronizing friendly companies with responsive customer service.
In this way, we can all change the energy industry one customer choice at a time. The results are already apparent as we see a significant rise in sustainable energy and new major players take the field.
No matter what kind of energy needs, plans, or values your school may have, we can help. You can reduce your costs, get more efficient, and integrate sustainable energy into both your infrastructure and curriculum. Contact us to learn more about the behind-the-scenes workings of the energy industry and how you can get better deals, service, and support sustainability in the long-term.