Assessing energy performance can be useful in targeting cost-effective solutions for energy savings. There are several actions that school district officials can take to get the ball rolling.
Appoint an Energy Manager
By appointing an energy manager, school districts identify a lead staff person responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive energy management program. An energy manager is in charge of planning, procurement and utilization of energy resources at a property, facility, or portfolio of properties. Energy managers often recommend policy for energy efficiency and conservation, develop long-range plans, and provide reports on the effectiveness of the energy program.
Measure and Track Energy Usage
Energy accounting can be one of the most cost-effective tools school districts can use to cut energy costs. Before getting started, check out the CEC’s publication Energy Accounting: A Key Tool in Managing Energy Costs, which will help you to get organized. Contact your local utility to obtain records of energy consumption data from schools. School districts can use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software to track building energy usage over multiple years.
Develop an Energy Profile
Once you track energy usage for individual school facilities or the entire school district, this information can be used to develop an energy profile. An energy profile provides the basic information needed to evaluate each school’s potential for energy savings. It can also help to develop a baseline of energy usage and benchmark energy performance compared to similar buildings.
Conduct Building Commissioning for School Facilities
Commissioning can help to ensure schools are operating as designed. The commissioning process documents the quality of building system performance and facilitates improved building operation without requiring any major renovations. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency. The California Commissioning Collaborative offers a variety of commissioning tools and information to help get you started.
Use Portfolio Manager to Benchmark School Facilities
By benchmarking your school, you can evaluate how much energy it uses compared to other schools of similar size. ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager can help you create a benchmark plan and track the performance of your buildings.
Conduct an Audit of Your School to Identify Areas for Energy Savings
An energy audit identifies how energy is used in a facility, and then recommends ways to retrofit buildings to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. There are several types of energy audits, which can identify ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. Schools can partner with utilities who may offer free on-site energy audits of schools.
Involve the Whole School
Get the entire school involved. Energy savings add up when the entire school joins together in conservation efforts. Schools with effective conservation programs have reported reductions of as much as 25% in utility bills.
Publicize Energy Costs and Savings
When people know how much it costs to power their school, they can see why it’s worth some extra effort to avoid waste.
Involve the School District
See if the district administrators would be willing to return a percentage of the dollars saved from your school’s no-cost energy efficiency changes.