We’re in the thick of another school year, and your educational organization should consider not only the academic aspects but also the environmental impact of daily operations. Schools can consume a lot of energy, but some simple changes and a collective effort can make a substantial difference in energy conservation.
Explore these 10 back-to-school energy-saving tips for educational organizations to reduce your carbon footprint and save on energy costs.
- Choose ENERGY STAR Products
Consider investing in ENERGY STAR products, particularly in areas like the kitchen or cafeteria. ENERGY STAR-certified appliances and equipment are more energy-efficient, which can lead to substantial savings in the long run.
- Embrace Natural Sunlight
On sunny days, encourage teachers to turn off overhead lights and open blinds and curtains to let in natural sunlight. By relying on daylight, you can reduce the need for artificial lighting that consumes energy and can eat up your school’s utility budget.
- Switch to LED Lightbulbs and Use Sensors
Replace traditional incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED lightbulbs throughout your school. Additionally, install motion sensors in classrooms, hallways, restrooms, and other spaces to ensure lights are only on when needed.
- Upgrade HVAC Units
Consider upgrading your school's HVAC system to a more energy-efficient model. Modern HVAC units are more precise and less wasteful, reducing energy consumption and operational costs all year round.
- Promote Recycling
Create a culture of recycling within your school by placing recycling bins in classrooms, cafeterias, and common areas. Encourage students and staff to recycle paper, plastic, and other materials properly. Work with your local recycling agencies to coordinate the best plan for your needs and budget.
You’ll not only save energy but also help protect the environment—since recycled materials have already been refined and processed once, they require much less processing to turn them into usable materials again. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, recycling one ton of paper from your school could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one ton (2,205 pounds) of carbon equivalent. That’s enough energy to power the average American home for six months!
- Take the Class Outdoors
When the weather permits, encourage teachers to take their classes outdoors. Learning in outdoor settings can be a refreshing change, reducing indoor classrooms’ need for lighting, heating, and cooling.
- Keep Doors Closed
During school hours, keep classroom and office doors closed. This helps maintain the temperature in each room, whether you need to keep the heat in during the winter or the cool air in during the summer. Also, identify and close off unused rooms and spaces to minimize energy waste.
- Unplug Electronics When Not in Use
When plugged in, electronics like computers, monitors, and chargers continue to draw power even when turned off. Encourage staff and students to unplug these devices when they're not in use or use power strips that switch off easily to prevent phantom electricity.
- Adjust Thermostats
Optimize your school's thermostat settings during school hours to conserve energy. Slightly adjusting the temperature can make a difference in energy consumption while maintaining comfort. Also, consider implementing programmable thermostats to automate temperature adjustments.
- Advocate for Energy Efficiency
Lastly, advocate for energy efficiency within your school. Engage with school leaders, teachers, and students on the importance of energy conservation. Encourage discussions and initiatives aimed at reducing energy consumption. Embracing energy efficiency sets an excellent example for students and the community, showing that even small changes can make a big difference in preserving our environment.
Back-to-school season is the perfect time for educational organizations to re-evaluate energy-saving measures. Following these 10 tips can significantly reduce your school's energy consumption, lower operational costs, and contribute to a greener, more sustainable future.
Want more energy-saving tips like these for your educational organization? Download our Educational Organization’s Energy Guide!