Want to Reduce Energy Use In Schools? Measure It.

The need to reduce energy use in schools has never been higher as school district budgets get tighter. Both public and government pressure to increase energy efficiency has put a spotlight on school districts as well. The days of simply upgrading facilities assets or utilizing a tactical, reactive approach to energy management are over, and public and government agencies want proof such upgrades and tactics are working. Both school boards and municipalities need to know whether a school is capable of meeting energy efficiency standards. Instead of running around in panic, school districts’ Facilities Managers need to understand how measuring energy use is essential to reducing it.

Inability to Measure Energy Use Means Hours of Laborious Calculations

Measuring energy use might seem like a simple concept. The energy used by a given asset is the amount of energy used over a period of time, and applied to the meter for a facility, the change in the meter reading for this month against last months meter reading denotes the amount of energy used.  Unfortunately, energy and natural resource use, like water, natural gas, kerosene, and electricity, use different types of meters, and it may not be possible to check each meter every day. Moreover, the calculations for understanding energy use per hour and per asset are much more complex. The National Teacher Enhancement Project released an energy-use calculation breakdown for Middle School students. Although designed as a learning instrument for students, the calculations involved in the worksheet reveal the scope of managing and monitoring energy use in schools with manual processes.

Measuring Energy Use Gives Information on How to Reduce Energy Use in Schools

Measuring the energy use in a school can help Facilities Managers to determine which areas need more or less attention. In other words, they can help Facilities Managers know which assets are worthy of energy efficiency upgrades. In addition, measuring energy use offers several benefits. Some of the benefits of energy measurement and verification give Facilities Managers an opportunity to determine which energy programs have met their objectives, reports the U.S. Department of Energy.

Benefits of energy measurement amount to direct savings in energy utility bills, lower maintenance costs, reductions in waste, increased comfort levels, and a lower carbon footprint. In addition, the savings from an energy measurement and improvement program encourage better learning and enhance the long-term status of school buildings.

Best Practices to Measure Energy Use in Schools Accurately.

Some of the best practices to measure and reduce energy use in schools, reports Mathaware.com, include:

  • Purchase ENERGY STAR qualified equipment.
  • Upgrade and maintain heating and cooling equipment.
  • Perform monthly maintenance of HVAC system assets.
  • Educate students and staff about how energy behaviors affect energy use.
  • Share savings with staff and students.
  • Leverage automated technologies to measure and monitor assets.
  • Retrofit all facility assets.
  • Delve into the details of your utility bills.
  • Benchmark actual versus projected performance savings of energy efficiency upgrades. As noted by the study, Measurement and Simulation of Energy Use in a School Building, simulation and validation form two core components of effective energy measurement and improvement program.  

Get the Data You Need to Reduce Energy Use in Schools Now

School district Facilities Managers face the same pressure to reduce costs and do more with less as their commercial counterpoints at major retailers. However, those working in educational institutions face an added degree of pressure due to the government-sponsored funding of K-12 schools. Unfortunately, failure to measure energy use and improve energy efficiency can have disastrous political effects, result in poor learning among students, damage the public perception of the school and worse. The only solution is for Facilities Managers to get the data they need to reduce energy use in schools by measuring energy use and acting upon it. Learn how your school can start measuring energy use in your facility by learning more about how Cenergistic helps you recover utility budget to use for more education focused initiatives.

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