In the U.S… energy use and utilities account for 34 percent of a school's maintenance and operations budget.
All schools applying for a CONSERVE: Energy Green Step must (are encouraged to) participate in either the Cool School Challenge or the EPA's Climate for Action program or similar program that helps students evaluate their carbon footprint. Climate for Action may be more appropriate for younger grades.
Starting Out: Small Projects
1. Swap compact fluorescent for incandescent bulbs throughout the school.
2. Develop a plan to Flatten materials before putting them out for recycling. Flattened boxes and crushed cans and bottles take up much less space and reduce the time and fuel required to transport them for recycling.
- Involve pre-school children and have them stomp on plastic bottles each week “for fun!”
- Have recycling club members squash all bottles and cans from school bins before putting them into roll carts.
- Ask cafeteria workers to rinse and remove the bottoms of large steel cafeteria cans with a can opener before stepping on them to crush them. Some elementary students use can openers that leave no sharp edges to remove the bottoms of the cafeteria cans.
Bigger Projects: Case Studies
Case Study 1: Darlington School District
After examining the building-by-building energy consumption report analysis provided by the S.C. Energy Office, Darlington School District applied for ConserFund loans for two projects in order to increase the energy efficiency of its school buildings. The first project involved installing a district-wide energy management system on all HVAC units, with an annual energy cost savings projection of $94,650. Heating, ventilating and cooling equipment typically is the greatest consumer of energy in any building. Now, students in Darlington School District have a comfortable environment, with moderate temperatures so they can focus on their studies instead of the climate, while the school district is reducing energy costs.
Case Study 2: Hartsville High School (Darlington School District)
To reduce energy costs, Hartsville High School replaced the full expanse of existing windows with energy efficient windows and closed off the remaining area with an insulated wall structure to decrease heating and cooling loads. The estimated energy cost savings from this project is $8,281.
With assistance from the S.C. Energy Office, the Darlington School District will realize over $2 million in utility cost savings over the life-cycles of these two projects
Helpful websites for Kids Energy Games
- energy KIDS - Games & Activities from the US Energy Information Administration.
- Energy Star Kids - Be an Energy Star! from Energy Star.
- KIDS ENERGY ZONE from Touchstone Energy.
- KIDS Saving Energy - Games, tips, & facts just for kids who want to save energy! from the US Department of Energy.
Conserve: Energy Web Resources