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.