Department of Energy

Releases Efficiency Publication

Districts with energy-efficiency maintenance and operations programs can save as much as 20 percent on energy bills — one of their most costly expenditures — without significant capital investment. That is money that can be spent on teachers, textbooks and technology. 

Because strong operations and maintenance programs play such a vital role in school energy efficiency, the U.S. Department of Energy has released a new publication, “Guide to Operating and Maintaining Energy-Smart Schools.” 
The free publication is designed to help districts and facility managers integrate energy-efficient practices into their operations and maintenance programs. The publication demonstrates how schools can become, or come closer to being, high-performance schools that improve the learning environment as they achieve maximum levels of energy performance.
Case studies featuring key aspects of energy-focused operations and management techniques are included throughout the guide, highlighting successes and lessons learned in large and small districts.
For example, a Colorado district participates in a utility partnership that rewards it with a 10 percent payback based on the amount of energy it saves. A Massachusetts district decreased energy consumption and vandalism through a lighting and security-system interface, and a New Jersey district saved more than $2,000 a month when its energy-monitoring software identified boilers that were not necessary.
Because the average U.S. school is more than 40 years old, particular attention is given to making preventative maintenance a priority.
The publication demonstrates how districts that integrate energy-efficient strategies into their operations and maintenance programs achieve savings and extend the life of their equipment while making school environments safer and more comfortable. The guide also includes energy-efficient considerations for planning new construction and major renovations.
Margo Appel is manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergySmart Schools Program.