Cost-Effective Tactics to Build Your Energy-Saving Strategy

Our schools spend around $6 billion a year on energy. Employing energy efficiency measures are a great way to save money and reduce this energy usage. 

New schools, constructed using modern building methods and materials, are highly energy efficient. But what can we do to make older schools greener?

6 Cost-Effective Tactics to Improve Energy Efficiency in School Buildings

There are several ways to make buildings more energy-efficient. However, it is important to think about the energy usage of the school as a whole and make decisions based on that. 

With this holistic thinking, it is possible to then develop a strategy using several different tactics. Here are six of the best.

  1. Consider a Green Roof

The green roof is an addition to the school building in which vegetation is grown on a waterproof membrane. The vegetation can be planted on the soil, or other growing media, and covered by topsoil.

A green roof would have some advantages such as:

  • It would help regulate the temperature in and around the school, which will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • It would also help prevent stormwater from entering buildings, which will save money on water treatment and sewer system construction.

  • The green roof’s use of plants could provide areas for students to learn about botany and biology while still at school.

  • The plants can also provide shading so that classrooms are not too hot during the summer months; this can also improve air quality indoors.

If you are considering the installation of a green roof on your school building, then it is important to consider not only the benefits of such an addition but also any associated costs – and these depend on its size and complexity.

  1. Promote Diverse Landscaping & Tree Planting

Landscaping and trees are a great way to make buildings more energy-efficient. They can reduce air and water pollution, mitigate the urban heat island effect, produce oxygen, cool the building, provide shade or sun protection on hot days, and create a natural environment for learning.

The importance of diversity in landscaping a school or university building is that it can improve the energy efficiency of the building. The more diverse a landscape is, the more likely it will be able to absorb solar radiation and store heat, increasing its temperature significantly.

The cost for this kind of project can vary dramatically depending on the size of the installation and other factors such as whether you want to use plants native to your area or not.

  1. Retrofit Your Existing Lighting Systems

Retrofitting is a cost-effective solution to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions. By replacing or updating existing lighting fixtures with more efficient equipment, school districts can make significant energy savings.

The cost varies depending on the type of lighting that you are installing, the size and shape of your building, and labor costs. According to the Department of Energy, retrofitting an existing building with LED lighting fixtures can help reduce energy usage for lighting by 75%

If you are considering retrofitting your existing lighting system, you should:

  • Take a building inventory and identify the type of fixtures that are in place

  • Assess what must be completed to determine what needs to be replaced or updated

  • Identify ways in which more lights can be installed at once without disruptions in the building’s operation

The cost and time required for installing retrofit lighting systems vary on the type of lighting system that is being installed.

  1. Install High-Efficiency Air Conditioning Units

One of the ways to reduce energy consumption in schools is by installing high-efficiency air conditioning units. These units have a lower power demand and can provide cool air without using a lot of electricity. So, installing new high-efficiency air conditioning units can improve energy efficiency in school buildings.

Installation of high-efficiency air conditioning units is not cheap, but when compared to other energy efficiency projects in a school building it can be a very affordable option, especially when long-term cost savings are compared.

  1. Utilize Passive Heating & Cooling Techniques at Your School Building

Passive heating and cooling techniques are natural, non-mechanical methods that regulate the temperature indoors. The techniques save building owners money in the long term and they also cut down on energy usage.

The most common passive heating and cooling techniques are:

  • Natural ventilation

  • Radiant heating and cooling

  • Insulation

  • Reflective roofing materials

  • Proper window design

Many of these techniques are inexpensive to install, and so are some of the most cost-effective methods of reducing a school’s carbon footprint and energy bills.

  1. Use Cleaner and Greener Sources of Electricity Inside the Building

Some of the most popular ways to save energy are by using clean and green sources of electricity, like solar and wind power. These sources not only decrease the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the environment but save money on their utility bills, too.

For example, solar panels are a popular choice among schools because they cost less upfront and require little maintenance. You may also consider joining a community renewable energy project.

It Is Possible to Reduce Energy Use and Save Money in Schools

Schools must be conscious of their energy use and the environmental impact they are having. Using renewable energy sources, reducing the amount of wasted energy, and implementing passive heating and cooling techniques can reduce energy use, save a lot of money, and help to deliver more environmentally friendly conditions to the local community.

We’ve outlined six ways in which a school can reduce its energy use and energy bills. To deliver cost-effective energy savings in your school, you should first conduct a full inventory of your energy use.

At ACB Consulting, we are committed to helping improve the communities in which we live, work, and play. To learn more, contact ACB Consulting.

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