These days, there is an increasing focus on sustainability efforts as part of “going green.” A number of organizations across different sectors are working to reduce the amount of electricity they are consuming every day. These initiatives not only ensure that the group is lessening its environmental impact, the resulting cost savings could provide additional financial resources for mission-critical projects.
While this is a common practice in many businesses, the trend has recently spread to include educational institutions as well. Although it can be difficult to lower energy usage with so many students and educators moving about the school, there are a few steps that individuals can take to curtail their electricity consumption.
Educate students on the importance of energy usage
One of the first steps educators should take is to explain to students the reason for the energy consumption project. Teachers can discuss the impact that electricity utilization has on the surrounding area and the environment as a whole. Administrators should explain that even taking small steps, such as some of those discussed below, can do a lot to contribute to these efforts when each individual takes part. Furthermore, to add to students’ motivation for participating in the energy reduction project, decision-makers can choose to put some of the money saved toward a small reward for pupils, such as a pizza party.
Turn classroom computers off when not in use
Much of the electricity consumed in schools goes toward technology. These days, the majority of institutions have a computer lab or classroom computers available for student usage. Teachers should encourage their classes to turn these devices off when not in use to conserve energy. Administrators and educators can also leverage a classroom management system to remotely establish settings that direct the user to turn the classroom computer off before leaving for the day.
“Regardless of the teaching style you’re using for your class in this century, politely ask students to switch off their devices such as iPads and laptops when they’re not being used,” stated TeachThought. “Computers when left powered on can consume as annual electricity of 1,000 kilowatts.”
Leverage a PC power management system
To further maximize energy savings on technology, administrators can deploy a PC power management software to ensure that resources are automatically conserved. Such technology, such as that provided by Faronics, can save an average of $50 annually per computer. For a school that has 100 computers, that equals up to $5,000 in savings which can be put toward a class trip, supplies or other areas.
Doors, windows and thermostats
Teachers should share tips about energy savings that students can leverage at home as well. This can include opening the windows when weather allows instead of using the air conditioning and closing doors to ensure cool air or heat is not wasted. Raising the thermostat by a few degrees in the warmer months and lowering the temperature a small amount during cooler months can also help reduce energy usage.
Classroom project: Tracking energy savings
Another way to motivate students and help spread the energy conservation message is to have students track and analyze the amount of electricity saved by their efforts. For example, teachers can split the class into small groups and put each in charge of recording a different aspect of energy savings. One school in California recently took this approach and discovered that they were able to reduce their electricity bills by 33 percent.
While students should play a large role in these efforts, it is important that everyone in the school participates.
“Saving energy will always require a dual effort from students as well as teachers,” TeachThought stated. “By teaching students of energy saving through the tips mentioned above, you’ll be able to reduce energy consumption of your institute and your students will be able to reduce their energy bills.”