Winter Energy Conservation Tips for Schools

Winter is around the corner, and schools across the country are gearing up to survive the coming cold. The costs of heating and keeping the lights on during the upcoming season will be higher than in recent years. This is due to ongoing increases in the cost of crude oil, even as OPEC continues to face pressure from the White House for higher production. K-12 schools and their Facility Managers will be forced to re-evaluate energy costs and usage behaviors if the trend of higher costs continues. Instead of cutting into the budget for critical systems and learning equipment, Facilities Managers can follow a few winter energy conservation tips to save money for higher heating costs.  

Winter Dramatically Increases Energy Use in Schools

Winter is a period of higher school expenses and costs for facilities management departments. During the winter, schools may need to use furnaces, additional lighting, auxiliary heating units and more to stay comfortable. Water use may spike if a line breaks, and high-humidity levels may require the running of dehumidifiers to reduce the risk of mold growth and condensation forming on expensive equipment.  

Winter Energy Conservation Is Key to Improved Productivity and More

Winter energy conservation can help schools reduce the burden of higher energy consumption costs, including both electricity and fossil fuels, during the cooler months. Student activity may also be increased during winter due to longer practice times for athletics, Christmas plays and concerts, and academic competitions. When daylight savings time ends, lighting systems will be used earlier in the evening, which further pushes energy costs upward. However, Facilities Managers that understand energy use behaviors can leverage a few winter energy conservation tips to save money.  

Actionable Winter Energy Conservation Tips

Finding the best way to conserve energy in the winter can be difficult. Schools are filled with “energy vampires,” especially electronics that run unnecessarily. Measuring energy use and benchmarking energy costs are essential to reducing costs in the winter, but it helps to follow a few best practices to reduce energy use. Some of the most actionable winter energy conservation tips, explains the U.S. Department of Energy, include:

  1. Reduce vacancy heating use, or automate heating system controls to only run in occupied areas of the building.
  2. Maintain consistent classroom temperatures, which require less energy to maintain than heating a cold classroom each morning.
  3. Conserve energy used for heating water by properly insulating the boiler and checking thermostat settings.
  4. Implement a comprehensive energy management policy that details how students, staff and facilities management professionals can work to reduce energy use.
  5. Turn off lights when leaving a room, or use motion sensors to automatically control lighting systems.
  6. Keep building interior and exterior doors closed, and remove debris that may prevent doors from shutting properly.

Plan Ahead for Winter to Reduce Energy Use This Winter

If history is any indicator of what to expect for the coming season, this year’s winter storms will bring record-breaking snow and ice. Paired with rising oil costs, colder temperatures will lead to higher energy costs in K-12 facilities. Facilities Managers must act today, following the winter energy conservation tips and encouraging a culture of energy-efficiency among students, teachers and everyone else involved in the school system. Plan ahead for winter energy use by learning more about Cenergistic solutions or by calling 1-855-798-7779 today.
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