Public School Energy Services
Leverage EnergyLink's Public School Funding Program to lower operating costs and free up more funds to bolster STEM programs and better serve your students
Energy cost stats for public schools
On average, public schools spend $0.67/sqft. for electricity and $0.19/sqft. for natural gas. See the chart below to learn which systems use the most energy in public schools. Understanding this is critical to stabilizing and lowering operating costs.
Energy usage stats for public schools
Best energy solutions for public schools
Solar pv panels
A direct benefit public schools can expect when installing solar pv panels is lower electric demand costs. By generating onsite power from the sun, your school won’t have to pull as much power (or any at all if the application makes you net zero) from the local electric grid. They can be implemented in rooftop, ground mount, or carport styles, depending on your school’s needs.
High efficiency HVAC systems
Most public schools were built decades ago, and as such have outdated HVAC systems with old SEER ratings. With cooling accounting for such a high amount of school operating costs, upgrading to ENERGY STAR certified HVAC systems can make it so your school requires less power to heat and cool spaces throughout the year. In turn, this will lower your electric demand charges.
Battery energy storage
It is critical that public schools have power at all times, but it’s especially important that power is available for cases of emergency. Battery energy storage systems allow you to store solar power generated throughout the day for use when the sun is not shining or in cases of emergency. Using stored power at peak load times can also reduce your school’s peak demand charges.
Geothermal heat pumps
Schools use their heating and cooling systems daily, even when students are not there. Constantly running HVAC units can drive up electric demand charges, which is the most expensive component of electric bills. Using geothermal heat pumps to pull heat stored in the ground into your school in the winter and cold air from the ground stored in the summer will dramatically reduce your utility bills because your HVAC units will have less conditioning to do.
Many schools throughout the U.S. use natural gas heating instead of electric. This means schools are heavily reliant on natural gas. An alternative option for schools would be to switch to all electric heating but use their current infrastructure to convert natural gas into electricity using combined heat and power (CHP) units. Because the cost of natural gas is often significantly lower than the cost of electricity from a retail utility provider, this can be a huge way for schools to save money.
Demand management systems
After installing solar panels and upgrading HVAC units to generate onsite power and use less power to heat and cool your school, the next step is to more intelligently use the solar power you generate. Demand management controls use pre-programmed algorithms based on your facility’s utility history to distribute solar power when it’s needed most and fire on and off HVAC units at the right times (while still maintaining optimal indoor temperatures).
Public schools using incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs can instantly reduce their lighting costs by up to 30% by swapping them with LED lights. LED lights draw significantly less power than other types of bulbs and are brighter, which can provide the ancillary benefit of having brighter rooms for students.
Fund renewable energy upgrades for your school district without any upfront costs
What is the Public School Funding Program?
EnergyLink founded the Public School Funding Program (PSFP) in 2020 in response to the education budget cuts that followed COVID-19. Our goal with this program is to provide schools with funding sources they can use to support students who are struggling. As a design-build engineering firm in the renewable energy sector, it is our hope that these funds will encourage students to enter a field where they too can benefit their community and the environment.
How does the Public School Funding Program work?
The PSFP program works by connecting school districts with investors who are interested in renewable energy projects, and facilitating the creation of Managed Energy Service Agreements (MESAs) and Energy Service Performance Contracts (ESPCs) that enable these investors to build renewable energy projects on school facilities that generate revenue for both the school district and the investor, while presenting virtually zero risk to the school district.
Other types of third party ownership models, such as PPAs are also possible to be used to fund energy projects. It is common for these projects to generate anywhere from $500,000 to $2,000,000 in positive cash flows for school districts over a 20 year time period, with all risk absorbed by third party investors and EnergyLink.
How to start the program
The first process begins with EnergyLink providing in-depth engineering-auditing services to the school district to determine what types of renewable energy projects are possible that will attract investors. Once potential projects are determined, EnergyLink will conduct financial analysis to help the school district determine how much potential revenue could be gained from engaging in the PSFP. If the school would like to continue, EnergyLink begins to garner interest from investors, lenders, and sponsors of the potential project.
EnergyLink will then work with the school district, the lenders, and the investor to create a MESA that benefits all parties involved, providing the most benefit to the school district.
At this time, EnergyLink will also draft an ESPC that guarantees the project’s cash flows to the school district for the life of the project to ensure the school district can only make money from the proposed arrangements.
Take action to benefit your students
With school budgets being cut left and right for public schools, this is a surefire way to increase funds so your students can be engaged in stronger programs with a better, healthier, and more efficient environment around them.