How to Save Energy at School

Schools consume a large amount of energy, which has a negative impact on the environment. Whether you are a teacher or a student, there are lots of ways that you can help your school save energy. The most common sources of energy use in schools include lighting, heating and cooling, and electronics. Look for simple changes your school can make and band together with others to make an even bigger impact.

EditSteps

EditCutting Back on Energy Use from Lighting

  1. Turn off the lights when rooms are not in use. Even something as simple as shutting off the lights when you leave a room can help to save energy. Turn off the lights in classrooms that are not being used and in other areas, such as empty bathrooms and unoccupied multi-purpose rooms.[1]
    Save Energy at School Step 01.jpg
    • Remind your friends to turn off lights by saying, “We can save a lot of energy for our school just by turning off the lights when we don’t need them.”
    • If you are a teacher, try reminding your students by saying, “Did you know that 90% of the energy that lightbulbs use is expended as heat? If we turn off lights when we don’t need them, we can save energy and keep rooms cooler.”[2]
  2. Use natural light when the sun is bright. It may not always be necessary for you to have the lights on in your classroom. There may be times of day when the sun is especially bright and sufficient for what you are doing in your classroom. Other times of day you might only need half of the lights.[3]
    Save Energy at School Step 02.jpg
    • If you are a student, ask your teacher if it is okay to work with fewer lights on. For example, you could approach your teacher and say something like, “The sun is so bright today. Would it be okay if we opened the blinds and turned off some or all of the lights to save energy?”
    • If you are a teacher, try asking your students, “Can everyone see okay?”
  3. Eliminate incandescent bulbs and replace them with CFLs. Replacing all of the incandescent bulbs in your school with CFLs can translate to big savings for your school.[4] CFLs consume a little more energy than incandescent bulbs when you first turn them on, but after the bulb is on it uses 70% less energy than an incandescent bulb.[5]
    Save Energy at School Step 03.jpg
    • Make sure that you do not switch CFL bulbs off and on too much. It is best to leave them on for 15 minutes or longer to save more energy.
    • If you are a student, talk to your teacher about the possibility of getting CFLs in your classroom.

EditSaving Energy from Heating and Cooling

  1. Check the thermostats for potential energy saving adjustments. Setting the heat for degrees in the colder months and degrees for cooling in the warmer months can significantly reduce energy costs. Check the thermostat in your classroom to see if these settings have already been applied.[6]
    Save Energy at School Step 04.jpg
    • If you are a student, try saying to your teacher, “I read that we could save energy by making some minor adjustments to the thermostat in our classroom. Would it be okay if we tried that?”
    • If you are a teacher, try saying to your students, “I am adjusting the thermostat to help us save some energy, but let me know if you start to feel too hot/cold.”
  2. Suggest using fans instead of cranking the air conditioning. If your classroom or other areas of your school have fans, then using these instead of turning up the air conditioning is a great way to save energy for your school. If it starts to feel a bit stuffy in a classroom then switch on the fan and see if that takes care of it.[7]
    Save Energy at School Step 05.jpg
    • If you are a student, then try saying, “Before we turn up the air conditioning, could we try using the fans? They can cool the room while using less energy than air conditioning.”
    • If you are a teacher, check with your students to see if they are cool enough with just the fans.
  3. Check for obstructions to vents. If there are any shelves, rugs, or other things blocking the vents in your classroom at school, then moving these obstructions can help to save energy. Ask for help moving the obstruction if needed.[8]
    Save Energy at School Step 06.jpg
    • If you are a student, then be sure to check with your teacher first. Try saying something like, “I noticed that the area rug is covering a heating vent, and we could save energy if we moved it slightly. Would it be okay if we did that?”
  4. Close the door when you leave or enter a room. Leaving doors wide open will result in a loss of heat or cool air, which can increase the need for energy to heat and cool that room. By closing the door to your classroom and other rooms, you can keep the heat and cold inside the room and save energy in the process.[9]
    Save Energy at School Step 07.jpg
    • If you are a student, check with your teacher before you close any doors. Your teacher might be leaving the door open for a good reason. Try saying something like, “I have read that closing doors can help us to save energy. Would it be okay if I close our classroom door?”
  5. Check for drafts in your classroom. Drafts indicate that windows, doors, and other areas may not be sealed well, and this can result in wasted energy. If you notice a draft, tell the maintenance staff at your school.[10]
    Save Energy at School Step 08.jpg
    • If you are a student, then you might want to let your teacher know first. However, you could offer to tell the maintenance staff for them. Try saying something like, “I noticed that there is a draft near the windows in our classroom. Is it okay if I tell the maintenance staff, or would you rather let them know yourself?”

EditReducing Energy Use from Electronics

  1. Save energy in the computer lab by using the “sleep” setting and shutting down computers. Your school’s computer lab can be a huge source of wasted energy. However, you can make a big difference by checking the settings on the computers and doing a few simple things when the computers are not in use. Some things you can do include:[11]
    Save Energy at School Step 09.jpg
    • Check to see if computers are set to “sleep” when not in use.”
    • Turn off any monitors that are still on when the computer is not in use.
    • Make sure that computers shut down completely at the end of the day.
  2. Request that new equipment meet Energy Star standards. Your school can save up to 50% on its energy costs by using Energy Star electronics and appliances.[12] If your school has plans to purchase new electronics or other appliances, then request that they purchase Energy Star items.
    Save Energy at School Step 10.jpg
    • If you are a student, then you might ask your teacher if this is something the school already does.
    • If you are a teacher, then you could talk with your school’s principal about it.
  3. Check to see if electronics and appliances are plugged into surge strips. Using surge strips for electronics and other appliances can also help your school to save money. Check to see if these are already in use. If not, ask if you can get some for your classroom.[13]
    Save Energy at School Step 11.jpg
    • If you are a student, try saying something like, “Surge strips can save energy because they make it easy to switch the power off and on for multiple electronic items. Would it be possible to get some for our classroom?”
  4. Ask about vending machine controllers to cut the compressor run time. Vending machines have a compressor that runs constantly to keep beverages cold all of the time. However, your vending company may have controllers that will allow you to shut off the compressor when the machines are not needed, such as when school is out for the weekend or during breaks.[14]
    Save Energy at School Step 12.jpg
    • If you are a student, you could talk to your teacher or school principal about this idea. Try saying something like, “Can we get a compressor remote to turn off the vending machines and save energy when school is not in session?”

EditGetting Others Involved

  1. Organize a student energy patrol. You can enlist the help of students to help your school save energy. Try organizing a group that is open to all students who want to help the school save energy. Members can join together to help the school save energy.[15]
    Save Energy at School Step 13.jpg
    • If you are a student, then you could start by inviting other students to join your group. You could also ask your teacher if they would spread the word and maybe even let you use the classroom for meetings.
    • If you are a teacher, then you could recruit students and help them by giving them ideas for how to save energy at school.
  2. Post signs about conserving energy. Either as an individual or as a team, you can create and post signs around your school. Try posting signs that remind people of things they can do to save energy and also some signs that raise awareness about saving energy.[16]
    Save Energy at School Step 14.jpg
    • If you are a student, then you could create some signs on your own or with a few friends who are also interested in helping your school save energy. Make sure to get permission to hang the signs first.
    • If you are a teacher, then you could have your students create signs for a class project or homework assignment, and then go around posting the signs together.
  3. Set up a recycling station at your school. Recycling is a great way to save energy because it reduces the need to produce new materials. If your school does not already have a recycling station, then ask your school principal if you can set one up.[17]
    Save Energy at School Step 15.jpg
    • Your school’s garbage company may offer recycling services. Check with them first to see if they can provide receptacles and then ask them to place these in designated areas throughout the school.
    • If you are a student, try asking your teacher for help by saying, “We can save energy and help the environment by recycling at school. Will you help me to get a recycling station set up?”

EditSources and Citations

Cite error: tags exist, but no tag was found

Posted in How

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *