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It's not easy being green! - Kermit T. Frog   Home K-12 Schools 12 Steps toward Sustainability Energy Conservation

    Simply turning off the lights when leaving the room can help save electricity, and is easy to do.
    Here's a light switch cover for you to print out and tape up!
Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency

K-12 schools consume large amounts of electricity and can minimize their environmental impact by implementing energy saving strategies by improved management and operation of heating, lighting and electricity consumption.

    There is a variety of compact fluorescent lamps, each with a life of up to 10,000 hours. These save a significant amount of electricity over the course of their lifetime.
    Image courtesy LANL.gov
  Organizational Assistance   Best Practices  
  • Track Use and Cost
    Develop and maintain databases which track energy purchases and consumption by fuel type. Energy Use databases can help administrators better manage energy consumption by identifying high-use facilities and unexpected fluctuations. In addition, ensure that school financial policy uses consolidated billing in which energy bills are paid on a monthly basis in order to make them easier to track. Consider tracking a school’s environmental impact by evaluating greenhouse gas emissions through an e-calculator.
  • Meter & Sub-meter
    Install meters on every building which track electricity consumption. Visible metering helps students, faculty, and administrators track and manage their energy consumption while generating awareness about energy usage. It is impossible to manage what is not measured.
  • Benchmark
    Benchmarking is a measure of energy usage for a specific building which normalizes calculations based on factors such as size, services provided by a building, number of occupants, and energy use per square foot, in order to compare different buildings. US EPA maintains rating systems for many types of buildings, including schools, office buildings and residence halls. Buildings in the top 25% of all buildings of their class can receive an ENERGY STAR award if they meet requirements. Consequently, ENERGY STAR awards are also good for a school’s image.
  • Life Cycle Analysis
    Life cycle cost analysis means considering more than just the initial cost when purchasing or constructing a new building. In life cycle cost analysis, all of the costs of using something are considered, including ongoing energy use. When planning new school buildings, always construct buildings that use both energy and water efficiently. K-12 schools can be expected to have long operational lives, often half a century or more. By constructing buildings to high energy efficiency standards, energy savings over time will pay for the added costs of construction many times over.
  • Renovation and Retrofit
    When cost effective, make use of weatherization, lighting and other efficiency upgrades to buildings. These improvements save energy and dollars. When renovating an old building, consider installing more efficient equipment. Such capital projects represent long term investments in energy efficiency, but not all efficiency projects need be intrusive or expensive. Sometimes energy savings can be obtained by simply changing incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescents, or replacing old equipment with ENERGY STAR rated equivalents. When immediate replacement is not cost effective, replace equipment with efficient models during normally scheduled replacement times.
  • Participate in Existing Utility Programs
    Many federal, state, and local utilities sponsor energy conservation programs. Take full opportunity of possible grants and funds intended to lower your school's energy usage. Grant funding makes the payback period on investing in energy efficiency and conservation much shorter.
  • Encourage Student Involvement
    Many programs designed to conserve energy cannot be implemented without student involvement. Educating students about energy consumption and its impact on the environment, as well as what it costs, helps to prepare educated consumers and future tax payers. Hold energy conservation contests between schools or classrooms awarding prizes to create incentives to conserve energy. Encourage teachers to purchase energy efficient products for their individual classrooms.
  • Investigate Performance Contracts
    Performance contracts enable energy consumers and businesses to overcome the high initial cost of some energy efficiency improvements. Typically, the contractor installs the energy saving equipment and pays for all of the initial cost. Subsequently, the contractor is repaid through energy savings by the customer over a period of time. As a result, the consumer saves money while paying for their system.
More Info
  • Two Rivers Magnet Middle School, East Hartford
    • Added motion sensors to lights and replaced old lamps with CFL’s
    • Collected monthly and yearly electricity bills for ECSU students to audit energy use and conservation through Energy Star
  • Totoket Valley Elementary School, Northford
    • Passed out Green Stars to classrooms that turn off their lights, shut down computers, and closed all the windows when no one was in the classroom, to be redeemed for rewards
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