Top 10 Energy Efficiency Tips for Schools

Turn off lights when not in use—lighting accounts for nearly 35% of the electric bill in most schools.  There’s no reason to leave lights on if a room is empty for more than one minute.  (And, yes, this applies to the new energy-efficient fluorescent lights.)

Stop leaks!  Look for simple draft beating strategies.  Avoid infiltration in conditioned spaces and work with facility staff to install permanent weather stripping, caulking, and insulation. 

Use energy efficient lighting options, like compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.

Create an energy efficient, comfortable environment. It’s expensive to heat and cool school buildings, but indoor temperatures must be comfortable so teachers can concentrate on teaching and kids can concentrate on learning.  A rule of thumb:  Consider setting thermostats at 68 degrees for heating and 78 degrees for cooling. 

Install programmable thermostats in areas like the cafeteria to minimize operating hours of the heating and cooling systems during low occupancy periods. Turn down heat in the hallways.  And—keep classroom doors closed.  Otherwise, the heat runs down the hall and outside—where it is wasted to the outdoors. And of course, clean furnace filters regularly.

Set inactive computers to sleep. A computer left on 24 hours a day uses $224 a year in electricity & the monitor uses 80% of a computer’s energy, so turning the monitor off will lead to significant energy savings. If school computers have power-management features, make sure controls are set so they will go into the “sleep” mode when not in active use.  Screen savers don’t save energy—only the sleep mode does.

Turn off equipment that will not be used for the next class period.  All computer equipment should be turned off at the end of the day and on weekends, unless your network technicians specifically instruct otherwise.

Maintain appliances and replace old appliances – be sure to clean refrigerator coils regularly!

Purchase energy efficient equipment. When purchasing new equipment schools can save 50% on energy costs by using Energy Star computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, copiers and other equipment.  Once purchased, make sure the Energy Star features are enabled.

Remove unneeded light fixtures near windows, especially in unused corners or along banks of windows.