Conserving energy can be more than just helping the environment. It can be about cutting costs around the school and classroom. By reducing your energy bills, there could be more money, when budgeting, to afford some of the other things to improve education. What can be done around the school to help promote greater energy efficiency between staff and students?
1. Motion Sensing Switches – Many schools have installed motion sensing light switches for classrooms as they can turn off the lights when not in use. This eliminates the “I forget” aspect of turning off the lights at the end of the day. The sensitivity on most of these switches can be adjusted in order to detect movement from various areas of the classroom. Other areas that can benefit from these types of switches is the restrooms and staff break rooms.
2. Natural Lighting – Depending on which direction the classroom faces, lights could be obsolete for much of the day if teachers can get by using natural lighting. Some classrooms are positioned perfectly in order to benefit from the sunlight without causing glares or discomfort when studying. If it’s possible to rely on natural light more often, teachers can reserve the actual overhead lights for cloudy or stormy days. During the winter months, the lights may be required more often. However, natural lighting can be greatly beneficial on the energy bill.
3. Shutdown Computers – Many schools utilize software that will allow the teacher to monitor and control student computers within the classroom. The tech department should fully inform the teacher of every aspect these pieces of software control as most of them will have the option to logoff and shutdown computers remotely. At the end of the day, the teacher can get in the habit of shutting off all computers simultaneously. Regardless if your school has software of this kind or not teachers or aids should be in the habit of shutting off all monitors and computers and the end of school.
4. Ventilation Access Points – Sometimes we move furniture around in the classroom without putting much thought into the ventilation systems. By covering up heating ducts or air conditioning points, the efficiency of the room is greatly diminished. Leave these areas open and unobstructed in order to maximize the efficiency of heating or cooling the room. Otherwise, it is merely wasting the money to change the temperature of a classroom when the access points are blocked. There should be proper airflow from these systems in order to maximize the coverage.
5. Proper Information Reigns Supreme – By using a $30 energy meter, you can conduct an experiment with the students involving them to track how much energy is used for each device plugged into the power socket. When students see for themselves using a hands-on approach, they absorb the information on a deeper level. They can see the immediate changes they can make as opposed to reading about them in books. This will resonate with the student and perhaps spark additional interest to practice conservation in other aspects of his or her life.
There are many ways that a teacher can promote conservation and energy efficiency in the classroom. Whether these are maintained as experiments or standardized rules of the school, a strategy for promoting energy efficiency should be developed. Not only will it save the school money, but it can also improve the community by not exhausting more power than what’s needed. Could your district get motivated by having a friendly competition between which school can save the greater amount of energy?
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.