Our children are our country’s future. Yet so many school districts today face budget constraints that restrict the learning experiences they are able to provide their students. One way to help the situation is to examine a school’s energy use profile and implement improvements to energy efficiency. Not only can energy-efficiency initiatives free up funds, many of them can also be incorporated into curricula and/or used as teaching devices to provide myriad hands-on learning opportunities for kids.
Here are some energy-conservation tips for creating more energy-efficient schools:
7 Ways to Conserve Energy at School
- Do an energy audit. The first step to reducing your school’s energy use is to know how much you’re using, to begin with. Hire an energy auditor to conduct a thorough audit of your school building, including a blower door test and thermal imaging. If you can, find an auditor who is willing to demonstrate the equipment to the students in a presentation and/or during the actual audit.
- Start a recycling program. Recycled materials take far less energy to produce than new ones. They are also less polluting. Involve the kids in setting up and managing a recycling station at your school.
- Turn off the lights. Train students and teachers to switch off the lights when a classroom is not in use. In classrooms with large windows, encourage them to rely on natural daylight when possible. Have students create posters and signs to remind people to turn the lights out when they leave.
- Switch to LED lighting. Lighting is often the most cost-effective way to save energy in a large building. LED bulbs use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs, and last over 20 times longer.
- Adjust the thermostat. Set the temperature to 78 degrees in warm weather and 68 degrees in cool weather. Use fans as necessary to keep everyone comfortable. Use a programmable thermostat to set the temperature even further back when the building is not occupied. Explain to students how much energy and money it will save the school, and how it will help the planet.
- Eliminate drafts. Students will enjoy creating stuffed snakes to place under doors, and window quilts to keep cold air out at night. Enlist your facility manager to insulate and weatherize your school building.
- Install renewable energy. Many school districts nationwide are adding renewable energy infrastructures such as wind turbines and solar panels to their campuses. Not only do these save money for the school in the long run, but they also provide many teaching opportunities.
What Energy-Efficiency Measures Will Benefit Your School?
These are just a few ideas any school can use to reduce energy costs while creating educational opportunities for students. There are many more ways to save energy at school, though. Why not enlist the help of students at your school and research even more ways for your school to save?