For many school districts, the monthly energy bill is an ongoing source of stress. Funds are tight everywhere, and every dollar spent on energy is one that can’t be spent elsewhere. Are you trying to reduce energy costs throughout your school? If so, there are several strategies that you can use to make it easier.
Installing smart light switches in every room in the school may seem like a major investment; it’s one which will quickly pay off over time, however. Think about it: students and teachers often fail to turn off the lights when they leave the room, especially when they’re in bathrooms and other common areas. What about the gym or the cafeteria: are they fully lit even when there’s no one in the room? By installing smart lights with motion sensors, you can significantly reduce energy usage – and watch the bill come down with it. When people are in the room, talking and moving around, the lights stay on. On the other hand, if the sensors detect no motion for a period of time, the lights will turn off. And you’ll experience energy savings.
Like smart light switches, smart thermostats do involve an up-front investment. However, it’s one that can save quite a bit of money on energy costs over the coming years. With a smart thermostat, you can set the temperature for different times of the day. When there are people actively in the school, the temperature sits at a comfortable level that won’t have students shivering in winter or frying in summer. When no one is in the building, however, the temperature can increase or decrease, based on the season. You keep providing climate control, which means that the pipes won’t freeze during the cold winter months and it won’t take too long to heat things up or cool them down once students return to the building, but you don’t have to keep paying for climate control when there’s no one around to care, either.
Quick: how many of your teachers actually turn off their computers when they leave at the end of the school day? How many of them leave them on, citing long boot-up times and increased frustration as the most common reason? While one computer draining energy throughout the night, when the school isn’t open, probably won’t use that much energy, the hundreds of computers throughout your building probably do! Make sure that devices in the computer labs and individual teacher classrooms are turned off each night and over the weekend. Reward teachers who are able to keep up with this simple change to help encourage the behavior.
What light bulbs are you using throughout your classrooms and in your outside lights? What about the appliances in the school kitchens: when was the last time they were replaced? Technology is constantly improving – and one of those improvements is a drive to use less energy, which means that the appliance can operate at a lower level of expense. While you may not be able to replace all of your old or outdated technology immediately, you may be able to replace several of those pieces over time, creating a less wasteful environment.
If you really want to get your energy costs down, get your students involved! Encourage them to take an active role in decreasing energy use throughout the building, whether that means turning off the lights until you can get those smart switches installed or looking for ways to decrease energy use in their classrooms. Make it a challenge! Offer rewards or let students see how much their efforts have managed to decrease energy use. Their innovations and suggestions might surprise you.
If you want to decrease energy use throughout your school, it may be helpful to start with an energy audit that will help you assess potential drains on the energy in the building. Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn how we can help.