How To Increase Energy Conservation at School
Implementing strategies that create a more energy-efficient school has various benefits. They reduce a campus’s environmental impact and will reduce long-term costs for local taxpayers. With more school districts adding air conditioning, and using their facilities year-round, being proactive with energy consumption and tracking is critical for delivering savings. Here are some helpful tips to save energy at schools.
How To Make Schools More Energy Efficient
K-12 school districts are tasked with maximizing resources and reducing the taxpayer burden by saving money on energy bills. However, the addition of air conditioning in school buildings, rising utility costs, and limited maintenance staff make this difficult. So how can K-12 schools optimize their energy efficiency?
Start with Current Status – Understanding how much you’re spending is one of the first steps to take when increasing energy conservation at school. This helps districts understand what elements are using the most energy, allowing them to prioritize systems and take a more strategic approach to their cost-saving measures. BuildingLogiX can work with you to generate a benchmark performance score for each building, and help your district prioritize where to invest effort and resources first.
Quick Solutions That Promote Energy Conservation at School
Deferred maintenance and out dated operational habits consume a ton of energy and cost. There are some easy and quick ways to reduce utility consumption, that if implemented, can generate savings to deploy for more impactful operational improvements. Thankfully, some simple fixes help schools conserve energy:
Aggressive Scheduling of HVAC
We consistently see far too many unoccupied use hours. It is not uncommon to be able to reduce annual utility spend by 3 to 5% through aggressive scheduling of HVAC equipment through your existing BAS system. Aggressive scheduling includes utilizing unoccupied setpoints, ensuring that overrides are consistently put back to Auto mode, and only operating building systems during occupied hours.
Take Active Control of Setpoints
Nearly all BAS systems allow centralized control of individual setpoints. Establish as a district your threshold for room and space setpoints, communicate your change, and implement. Raising cooling setpoint minimums by 1F or more has a measurable impact on utility consumption over the span of a year.
Deliver Proper Supply Air Temps
For schools with chilled water systems, it is not uncommon to see chilled water setpoints not congruent with design conditions and which have a negative impact on utility consumption. These are often a result of a “temporary” change that was made long ago and forgotten.
Switch Lights Off & Use Occupancy Sensors
Keeping lighting fixtures on in unoccupied rooms increases electricity bills and wastes significant amounts of energy. Installing occupancy sensors is a helpful strategy but a more cost-effective technique is training faculty to turn off their classroom lights when they leave.
Performing routine maintenance and cleaning tasks can help increase equipment efficiency and reduce waste. Changing filters, cleaning coils, and taking time to ensure outside air and return air dampers are working properly can help school buildings limit costs.
Next Steps for More Energy-Efficient Schools
Reducing costs in the short term is important, but many districts looking for more structured and significant reductions in their utility bills will benefit from these long-term solutions:
Begin Metering Your Campus
The old adage is true, “If you can’t measure it, You can’t manage it.” When it comes to energy efficiency, the best place to start is by metering your utilities and begin analyzing the meter data.
Install Demand-Control Ventilation
Gyms, cafeterias, and other large spaces are often ventilated to meet full capacity. Leveraging demand-controlled ventilation programs lets your HVAC system better control how much outside air is supplied.
Get Proactive on Building System Performance
Utilizing Fault Detection and Building System Analytics as an enhancement to your existing BAS – building automation system – puts you in the driver’s seat. It is not enough to have a comfortable school building. Today constituents demand a healthy classroom environment, that is created in an energy efficient way. The only way to bring these dual requirements to under control is by proactively managing your district’s building infrastructure.
Perform a Commissioning Study
Studying system performance and utility bills will identify improvement opportunities. But having a commissioning study done is critical for pinpointing problems. This solution involves engineers monitoring your various building automation systems to determine their working efficiency.
If the study determines that inefficiencies exist, then your maintenance team can begin finding and fixing issues to create a healthier campus.
Are There Energy Efficiency Grants for Schools?
Focusing on reducing your energy usage does more than just reduce costs for the school district—it also makes you eligible for the following federal grants:
Districts across the country have partnered with ENERGY STAR to improve energy conservation at school. This program offers the tools and information that enables campuses to improve performance and create healthier buildings.
The Department of Education offers the EnergySmart Schools program that delivers educational programs to help public and private schools improve their energy efficiency.
Are you looking to create a more energy-efficient school? Contact BuildingLogiX and see how our software enables your maintenance team to deliver quick repairs to minor issues.
Enhance Energy Conservation at School With BuildingLogiX
One of the biggest obstacles to increasing energy efficiency is that it’s difficult to determine when mechanical problems occur. This is because most HVAC systems are designed to continue working; they just work harder to maintain interior temperature. But what if there was a software solution that enabled a maintenance team to pinpoint when small issues develop and repair them before a major breakdown?
BuildingLogiX offers Connected Building Services (CBS) that utilize the data produced by your system to track performance and provide actionable improvement opportunities. Some of the features of CBS include:
Fault Detection and Diagnostics
How much time and money would your district save if your maintenance team knew the exact location of a problem? Fault Detection and Diagnostics quickly locates and isolates issues in your HVAC system, enabling your repair staff to rapidly fix them.
Translating data into understandable intelligence is critical for making the right improvement decisions. Our data visualization tools generate charts and graphics to illustrate how a building’s HVAC system is operating. We work with clients to develop a custom dashboard that suits their needs and help them read the data to increase energy efficiency.
Strategic Energy Management
School districts have the added responsibility of showing local taxpayers progress in their energy conservation efforts. Our strategic energy management program helps you compare systems and set short- and long-term goals. Tracking trends enables your maintenance team to lengthen the useful life of equipment by making continuous improvements. Contact BuildingLogiX and see how our solutions help increase energy conservation at schools.