There are many things students, teachers and staff can do to reduce your school’s energy consumption. Here are some easy tips you can follow any time of year:
- When you’re replacing equipment, consider buying higher efficiency models (e.g. ENERGY STAR).
- Conduct an energy audit. Organize classroom teams to help collect information and tie the audit to math and science lessons to help collect and tabulate results.
- Shut off of all energy consuming equipment during school breaks.
- Turn off lights, computers, monitors and printers when you’re not using them.
- Report any drafts to the building maintenance staff.
- Remind students and teachers to ensure sinks are turned off after use and aren’t leaking. Building staff may consider installing sensor-activated sinks and hand dryers in bathrooms.
- Check that windows are closed and locked tight to make sure energy is not lost through cracks or small openings.
- Shut doors and, where possible, use under-the-door draft stoppers to contain heat in the room.
- Open window shades to allow sunlight in and naturally warm up classrooms. For those rooms that receive ample sunlight, check with maintenance staff to see if the heat can be turned to a lower temperature.
- Work with maintenance staff to only turn the heat on in the rooms used most often. It’s not efficient to heat multiple areas if you are only using one, so any spare classrooms or assembly halls used infrequently could remain unheated (depending on your climate or building temperature controls).
- Walk or ride your bike to school instead of taking the bus or riding in a car. Kids should talk to their parents about what is safe before trying a new way to get to school.
- Take advantage of daylight savings time – make sure only the lights you need are turned on.
- Turn off lights and unplug electronics when the school day is finished.
- Pull your shades down on windows that receive a lot of sun. This will lower your cooling needs and energy bill.
- Dress for the weather instead of turning up the air conditioning, lighter colors and fabrics cool you naturally. When it starts to get warm, remind parents to help kids dress appropriately for the weather.
- Stay cool on a summer day by making paper fans instead of turning up your air conditioner. Ask your art teacher to help students get creative with their own, reusable paper fan.
- In the lunchroom or lounge, use your microwave for cooking instead of the oven or stove. Arrange “heat-free lunch days” to encourage students and teachers to bring sandwiches, salads or other foods that do not require reheating.
- Instead of turning the heat on for a chilly day, bring an additional sweater or layer of clothing. As the season begins, ask parents to send along a light jacket or a pair of long pants students can store in their lockers for when the weather becomes cooler.
- Open windows on nice days to take advantage of the weather instead of using the heating or cooling systems.
- Make sure radiators are not blocked to ensure the heat you are using is maximized.
- As it gets darker earlier, remember to replace your regular light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs or light-emitting diodes (LED).