How to Engage the Community and Build Support with the ENERGY STAR Energy Efficiency Student Toolkit

The ENERGY STAR energy efficiency student toolkit is an excellent resource for educating and engaging students and the community on energy efficiency, and understanding the energy use and energy use behaviors within your facility. While the ENERGY STAR program publishes an ENERGY STAR toolkit for students available online, some Facilities Managers may opt to create an in-house toolkit. Since the kit represents one of the biggest advantages in trying to gain community support for energy efficiency upgrades and changing student energy use behaviors, Facilities Managers need to know a few things about building a kit from scratch.

Education Facility Managers May Have a Hard Time Communicating Energy Efficiency Goals and Needs.

Some energy teams may be adept at fine tuning equipment and solving complex engineering problems, but may struggle with communicating the benefits of energy efficiency or engaging occupants to participate. Facility Managers know that less energy use translates into cost savings, but their experience and focus is typically on managing the buildings and infrastructure, not students and teachers. However, a fundamental component of energy efficiency is operating the building without wasting energy – on lights left on in empty rooms, classroom technology left running around the clock, and other energy use behaviors that impact energy efficiency goals and needs. An energy efficiency student toolkit helps bridge the gap between the energy-efficiency goals of Facilities Managers and the day-to-day activities of the students and teachers in the classrooms.

An Energy Efficiency Student Toolkit Empowers Students to Make a Difference.

Although the Education Facility Manager plays a vital role in the operation and maintenance of the building, the energy efficiency student toolkit is aimed toward encouraging better behaviors and improving energy use by getting students involved. The student toolkit includes several activities that will require collaboration between the school's energy manager and students. For instance, bench marking energy use in EPA’s online resource tracking tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, may require information held in the Facilities Management office, such as electricity, water, and sewer meter readings.

Key Components of the ENERGY STAR Energy Efficiency Student Toolkit.

A comprehensive ENERGY STAR energy efficiency student toolkit must be designed for students, but it will require information that only the Facility Manager or another supervisor in the department can provide. If creating an energy efficiency toolkit from scratch, it should, at a minimum, include these key components:

  • Understanding energy efficiency. What is energy efficiency, and what are the benefits? Start by educating students and staff on how energy is produced, and why saving energy not only saves money but also protects the environment for all of us.
  • Benchmarking your school. The packet should outline how to benchmark the school against its past performance and other, similar schools. If you’re not leveraging the ENERGY STAR toolkit that’s already published, consider speaking with your energy management provider to help with this step.
  • Conducting an energy efficiency treasure hunt. Treasure hunts are a great way to get students involved in identifying opportunities to save energy, while learning about the assets in your facility that contribute to waste and higher energy consumption costs. The treasure hunt should give students a broad direction and let them identify the weakest areas first.
  • Encouraging a behavior change campaign. Changing energy use behaviors is the symbiote to energy efficiency upgrades. The best upgrades will fail if users still waste energy unnecessarily, so the kit should have actionable tips for encouraging better energy use behaviors. Check out the ENERGY STAR building activity kits for print-ready resources, or create a student art competition to have students create their own.  
  • Calculating savings and financing energy efficiency upgrades. The final aspect of the kit should involve calculating savings and financing options for energy efficiency upgrades. As a result, students in STEM courses and higher grades may be better suited for this part of the toolkit.

Now that you understand where your school stands, take your findings to the school board and leverage your findings to support energy efficiency goals. Student involvement will go a long way in building the business case for energy efficiency upgrades, and it will strengthen the bond between the school’s Facility Manager and students.

Presenting and sharing results and awareness of energy efficiency is easy, and options may include the press releases, social graphics, posters and postcards, brochures, and audio recordings available on ENERGY STAR.GOV.

Build Your Energy Efficiency Student Toolkit Now.

The students in your school have big voices, especially in the age of social media. If your school has had trouble getting school board members or stakeholders interested in energy-efficiency upgrades, the student toolkit could be the best way to finally get their attention. Download the ENERGY STAR student toolkit packet now or kick-start the creation of your own toolkit by getting in touch with Cenergistic today online or calling 1-855-798-7779.


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