Reducing operating costs can seem like a daunting task, especially when you don’t know where to start. Conducting a school energy audit identifies areas that need improvement in order to lower utility costs and increase efficiency. According to a 2020 government report, over 50 percent of public schools in the U.S. are in need of updated or replacement systems and features within their buildings. A school energy audit is the first step schools can take in order to identify and rectify this problem. Other simple steps are outlined below.
1. School energy audit
An energy audit involves analyzing your building’s historical data, assess the adequacy and efficiency of current energy systems, and evaluating your buildings current operating costs. This can be done internally or with the help of an energy service company like EnergyLink, who can develop and design energy solutions custom to your buildings needs.
Your school can conduct an audit independently by taking actions such as evaluating the cost of lights or machines running in the school and whether they are actually in use while turned on. Going further, you can consider installing motion activated light switches to cost spending and increase energy efficiency. There are many other easy ways to increase energy efficiency depending on your building’s needs discovered by the school energy audit.
2. HVAC tuneup
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are a common problem source in schools across the U.S. They are in fact the systems most in need of repair with 36,000 school buildings affected nationwide. If dirty, clogged, under pressure or out-of-date these systems can cause damage that is harmful to your building and those who frequent it. This damage can include air quality problems and exposure to mold or asbestos.
It is imperative to get ahead of HVAC maintenance before operating costs skyrocket and the system becomes a danger to your building. Keep in mind that HVAC systems lose 5 percent of their efficiency for every year that maintenance is skipped so schedule an HVAC tuneup every fall in order to avoid this.
3. Thermostat automation
Another way to reduce operating costs and save energy is to automate your thermostat with a remote building automation system. Chances are not all areas of your school are being utilized all day and night, so you can set the thermostat at an energy saving temperature during these times. This won’t have a negative effect on faculty, staff or students but it will have a positive effect on your school building(s). For energy-saving heating, the rule of thumb is to have the thermostat set at 68° F. Other systems that can be automated include HVAC, solar, EV chargers and batteries to name a few. Automating one or all of your building’s energy systems will reduce peak demand and time-of-use charges.
4. Utilize blinds & window
Using blinds and windows to your advantage can be an easy way to save on heating and cooling costs and reduce the strain on your building’s HVAC system. Closing blinds when you can or when a room is vacant will deflect sunlight and keep rooms cool. This can be helpful in warmer months. If you are experiencing the opposite problem, open the blinds to let the sunlight in and increase the temperature of the room. This method can be helpful during colder months.
5. Create school-wide energy saving challenge
Incentivizing faculty, staff and students to practice energy conservation habits can have a significant impact on your schools bottom line. It will also teach students and the next generation of leaders to value sustainability. Having faculty, staff and students do simple things like turning off computers and switching off lights will help reduce operating costs.This is often an overlooked method that is easy and effective.
Interested in a school energy audit?
If you are interested in reducing fall operating costs and increasing energy efficiency consider scheduling a school energy audit with EnergyLink. Our team members are experts in designing, building and funding energy projects that meet your organizations specific needs. Click the link below to start the process or speak to an expert at (866) 218-0380.