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How Schools and Universities can Spring into Savings with Energy Efficiency

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

Spring break is a great time to get started on an energy related project. With students out of the building, facility managers can access classrooms and offices without the distraction or hassle. “Spring” into savings with projects such as new LED fixtures, occupancy sensors, variable speed drives and more.

Budgeting is a top priority for most schools and universities, yet educational facilities spend nearly $8 billion on annual energy expenses. The top three energy consuming systems are heating and cooling, lighting, and office equipment. By focusing on ways to reduce the energy consumption of these systems, your school, university, or district can redirect those expenses to the areas that need it most. To get started, consider some of these energy saving projects.

Lighting: Upgrading lights from fluorescent or incandescent to LED will save money and energy while reducing maintenance costs and improving light quality for students and staff. Exterior lights are a great area for savings because they are often left on for 12 or more hours a day. Improve building security and safety by keeping your parking lots and pathways illuminated with LEDs.

To increase the efficiency of your lights, install occupancy sensors to areas such as private offices, data closets or restrooms. Additionally, look for areas in your school that receive a lot of natural light. Daylighting sensors can save energy and money by dimming artificial light when natural light is available.

HVAC: Keep your HVAC units running efficiently to increase occupant comfort and reduce complaints. A yearly tune-up can extend the life of your units, prevent future repairs, and provide better indoor air quality. Further optimize your HVAC systems with an economizer or variable speed drive.

o Economizer: An economizer takes the air from outside your building and uses it to cool the inside of your building. This is known as “free cooling” because the HVAC system gets a break from the mechanical cooling process.

o Variable Speed Drive (VSD): If your current system is not equipped with a VSD then it only has two settings: on and off. With a VSD your system has more motor control and functionality to provide heating and cooling on a supply and demand basis. To learn more about HVAC optimization, read our blog post here.

Office Equipment: Office equipment and computers are essential to modern education but can make a significant impact on energy usage. Enabling power management settings on your computers will save energy by shifting the computers to sleep mode after a period of inactivity.

Energy assessment: Do you want a personalized report of energy saving opportunities? Sign up for a comprehensive energy assessment and receive a list of energy saving opportunities.

To schedule an energy assessment or to get started on any energy related projects, contact us. We may be able to connect you to financial incentives for your work. 312-265-3971 or


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