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Is Your School Paying Too Much For Power


Schools are busy places, full of tens, hundreds, and sometimes even thousands of students. From the administration team to the janitorial staff, the goal is to make sure that the children arrive, get to and from their classes, have lunch and bathroom breaks, and finally get home safely to their families and for most, this is enough work for a lifetime.

Schools that teach and manage students successfully often have a policy of “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” when it comes to maintenance and updates. If the doors lock to keep out un-screened strangers and the windows keep the kids from taking an ‘early recess’ while the teacher isn’t looking, they’re good enough, right? Unfortunately, putting off infrastructure updates only seems like a good idea until the utility bill rolls in.

The Power Bill and Your Infrastructure

It is a common attitude among educators that whatever is necessary to teach the children is what must be done. This is a very admirable form of determination and fortitude but it can lead to a certain amount of tunnel-vision. What if your power bill wasn’t a necessary evil and could, in fact, be much lower with only a few infrastructure improvements?

All you need to do is think about your school in terms of energy efficiency. After all, it’s not just a place that children come to learn, it’s a physical structure subject to all the same rules as the modern homes and businesses implementing the same techniques.

While there are hundreds of little ways to improve energy efficiency, the four pillars of structural efficiency are the roof, doors, windows, and your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) system. This is because keeping an entire school at a comfortable learning temperature takes a lot of power so the efficiency of your system and how well your building contains heat or cold matters a great deal.

Updating Your Doors and Windows

How long has it been since your current set of doors and windows were installed? Ten Years? Twenty? Even if the panes of glass were once sealed efficiently into their frames, chances are that most of the windows in the school rattle and that many doors have worn-down weather stripping at best. Rattling, condensation, and drafts are a clear sign that AC or heat pumped through the school is escaping into the outdoors, wasting your power and money. Your best bet is to install newer energy star rated doors and windows, ideally with insulated double-panes for optimal thermal protection.

If you’re worried about displacing classes, the solution is to schedule window replacements either over weekends, in late afternoons. If installation must occur during school hours, carefully coordinate class relocations section by section as the windows and doors are replaced. Your utility bill will quickly begin to reflect the greater energy efficiency of the building and you can bet that teachers and students will be appreciative when classrooms stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

The Roof of Your School

In no place is the old phrase “Out of sight, Out of mind” more real than when it comes to roof maintenance. Homeowners, business owners, and school administrators alike tend to forget that the roof is even a thing, much less something that must be regularly maintained and updated. However, no matter what kind of roof your school sports, it’s important to make sure that all materials and roof systems are in optimal working order with sealed flashing, weather resistance, and a way to deal with snow pile-up for schools in areas that experience snow in the winter.

Replacing an Ancient HVAC System

Finally, one of the biggest power drains in any large building is the HVAC, your furnace, AC, ventilation, fans, and filters that allow you to keep the school at a reasonable temperature. You will want this entire system inspected, maintained, and to replace any parts that are past their expiration date including the main unit if necessary. Clean vents, ducts, and filters will make it easier for air to flow through the building, causing the HVAC units to use less power pushing air around.

Sealed ducts, on the other hand, will ensure that your hot or cold air doesn’t escape between the walls and into utility spaces that don’t need heating or cooling. If you do replace your central system, be sure to look into newer energy efficient models that can significantly change how much you expect to pay each month for the school’s power consumption.

Is your school using too much of the budget on the power bill? Even if it takes you a few years to stage in all the necessary improvements, by modernizing and updating your school infrastructure and HVAC system, students, teachers, and your yearly budget will all thank you for making a more energy efficient and air-tight place to learn free of cold drafts and rattling windows.

For more information about updating your school for energy efficiency, contact us today!

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(937) 877-1919