How Schools Can Be Energy Efficient

Reducing energy emissions is beneficial to both your utility bills and your carbon foot print, so how can you work towards being energy efficient?

It’s more important than ever to reduce energy emissions as much as possible, and schools have a large part to play in this. Whether the school you manage has a large student population or a small one, there are some easy steps that you can take to reduce the level of emissions that you’re creating, which will in turn reduce energy bills.

A school has plenty of appliances – computers, televisions, projectors, printers and photocopiers. By making sure that each appliance is switched off at the wall at the end of the day, you can save quite a lot of energy compared to just leaving them in standby mode. You can also turn off computer monitors when you know that they’re not in use for the next lesson. Another aspect of managing your appliances is to check their energy efficiency certificate – older appliances tend to use more energy than new ones. At the end of the year, compare the consumption levels of older appliances to the new ones – if the difference is significant, it could be worth investing in new appliances.

Program your school’s thermostat to ensure that it has a set temperature for the summer and for the winter. This ensures you will never overheat the school unnecessarily, which is a waste of energy and money. In the summer, use fans rather than air conditioning which can make a difference to the temperature without using as much energy as air conditioning. Keep the doors of classrooms closed when possible in order to keep the warm air inside, and the cold air outside!

As with appliances, you should always make sure lights are switched off when they’re not needed. Remove lights from natural light sources i.e. by windows. You can get the students involved by having them design signs which remind people to switch the lights off. Lastly, using LED lighting is much more energy efficient than using halogen bulbs – they also last a lot longer, so you barely ever need to replace them. You can even use the LED bulbs on your outdoor security lights – LED floodlights are perfect for lighting outdoor areas. LED bulbs are more expensive initially, but pay for themselves in terms of utility bill savings and never having to replace them.

There are lots of simple ways to use less water, but one that sometimes gets overlooked is to check for dripping taps. Dripping taps might seem like they’re not using a lot of water, but it really adds up over time. By getting the taps fixed, your water consumption will reduce significantly.

In Practice
Getting the students involved in saving energy is one of the easiest ways to reduce your school’s energy consumption. You can set up dedicated recycling stations around the school for paper, bottles and other recyclable materials. You could also form a student energy patrol to check that appliances and lights are switched off when they are not in use.

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