Students in Malta will be back to school by the end of this month. A school, whether its primary, secondary, post-secondary or tertiary level, can use up a lot of energy during the day. From heating the building to inefficient lighting fixtures in the building; a school that is running 8-10 hours a day can prove to be a huge consumer of energy and thus; a high utility overhead to maintain.
We created this post specifically for those whom work for a school or college campus that can either make the decisions, or can recommend new ideas to those who do make these types of decisions. The overall goal of this post is to bring the most actionable energy saving ideas for schools so that you can start looking into them immediately.
Our staff at LTC will be covering 10 practical tips and ways that you can start saving energy in schools and become a greener, environment friendly, and more sustainable facility overall. Here they are…
- Replace inefficient lighting fixtures
In school facilities we most commonly find tube lighting being used in the hallways, classrooms, and really anywhere with lower ceilings that are flat.
This technology is, more often than not, fluorescent. Believe it or not, this actually isn’t the most energy efficient lighting technology out there. So what is you ask?
Well, LED technology is by far the most efficient luminaire on the market today. By switching from fluorescent to LED, you will be able to realize a 30% reduction in electric energy consumption associated with your tube lights.
As for you parking lot, exterior walls of your school and sports fields, at LTC LED Lighting we have a vast range of LED floodlights and street lights used in major projects (ex. Kappara Junction and Lufthansa Technick). All of our street lights are intelligent which allows you to save even more on energy consumption. You can make the switch and save up to 75% on your energy bill! Talk about a lot of energy being reduced.
- Install occupancy sensors
Some areas of your building may not be in use at all times where the lights would be on otherwise (such as hallways). By installing occupancy sensors which turn on when there is movement, you will be able to have lights be on only when the area is needed. No more needing to illuminate that back hallway that is only used a few times a day all of the time!
- Make sure everyone is conscious of turning off lights
You can have all of the technology in the world, but if someone doesn’t turn off lights that need to be turned off manually (such as a switch inside a classroom), you will be realizing a great waste of energy in your building that can’t really be fixed otherwise.
To solve this, make sure an email goes out to every staff member (and maybe even the students) stating there is a new initiative in energy reduction on campus. Believe it or not a lot of people will listen and be more aware of it next time they leave a room.
- Invest in energy management systems
By installing an energy management system, such as a thermostat control and timer, you will be able to more effectively control the heat or cooling your building outputs through the day, week, month, and year (accounting for weekends and holidays).
Otherwise, when you leave it to be done manually, you won’t be as accurate with timing and thus; excess waste of energy going to heating and cooling unoccupied buildings or rooms. By setting timers you can easily tell the system when to go and off, depending on the time and even the day.
- Lots of computers = lots of energy
And no, screen savers don’t conserve energy. But, what does save energy more-so than a screen saver is the “sleep” function that every computer has. On top of that, next time you plan on upgrading your computers, make sure you buy Energy Star qualified ones. This means they’ve passed some energy efficiency tests and are much more energy efficient than non-qualified computers are (same with your lighting system, make sure it is Energy Star or DLC qualified too).
- Hall monitor? No! Energy Monitor
Assigning kids to help out with conservation efforts can prove to be a hugely effective way to creating school sustainability. Although it’s not the only thing you need to do to reduce energy and resource usage, by having students on board they can advocate to others on a level your emails simply can’t.
Get aboard a few people from each grade or level and see what they think could be done. Alternatively you could even get classes to create energy conservation projects for school students, which will do nothing but help.
7. Upgrade those bathrooms
There are much better ways to save electricity at school in the bathroom than replacing hand driers with paper towel dispensers. All that does is create another issue, the ongoing cost and waste produced from the paper towels!
Instead, upgrading hand dryers that are energy efficient is a surefire way to reduce energy usage in you schools bathroom. On top of that, installing sinks and toilets that use less hot water (and water in general) can be a great addition while you are at it.
8. Conduct building commissioning
By conducting a throughout and professional building commissioning, you get every single last area of your school inspected to ensure it is running exactly how it was designed to run. A lot of times we overlook things that are unique issues to your school, and no matter how long of a list we read on ways to conserve energy at school; we will never see everything. So our tip for you is to bring in a professional to do a full building commissioning audit, and let them tell you what is up.
9. Promote usage of natural light
Face it, a lot of classes happen during broad daylight and by not using up that free light from outside is a pure waste. By opening blinds to their fullest (when appropriate) you can reduce the amount of lights you need on by nearly half, depending on the day and time of year.
Just make sure to remind everyone to do this otherwise, you’ll never will with this tactic. Remember: you need to get the school on board or else you can only do so much.
Alternatively to just opening the blinds and windows, installing skylights into virtually any area of the building can be an even more effective way of getting the most natural light into your building. This is probably most beneficial for areas that would otherwise have no natural light whatsoever, such as hallways or interior rooms.
10. Go solar and generate energy
There is only so much you can do when it comes to conserving energy, but you will always be consuming some. By taking these above steps, you will be able to greatly reduce your energy consumption levels so much so that you may even be able to power it all through solar.
The investment in solar technology can be hefty, but rebates and grants are out there to make it a more affordable option that ever. On top of that, you are becoming a role model to the community by showcasing what conserving energy can do when used with solar energy technology. Let solar generate your building a positive ROI all while conversing the planet’s resources.