Saturday, April 30, 2011

Conserving Energy for Success

By Sean Scarpiello

As education funding continues to be cut across the United States, school districts continue to look for easier ways to save money. Administrators need to find new methods so that they can get more bang for their buck. One easy way to reduce costs which often gets overlooked, is to control energy costs.

In my high school, I noticed that computers and televisions were usually left on overnight. Overall, there was a general lack of initiative of staff and faculty which cared about the energy costs of the school. For example, some teachers would open the window on nice days and keep on the air conditioning unit. It is wasteful to pay for the air conditioning when it is not being used. Also, buses would constantly idle in the parking lots waiting for students. I felt that this is twice as bad because not only is the school losing money on expensive gasoline, but the environment is also being affected. I can also see some examples of this wastefulness at college. After all the academic buildings close down for the night at about 12 o’clock, every room and atrium remains lit up. When the building is locked and not being used, it should not need to be lit up and have computers running.

This problem exists in schools because many people are simply careless. Many teachers, staff, and faculty do not turn off lights and are generally wasteful because they think, “I’m not paying the energy bill.” Everyone has that kind of attitude at work. Since they are not paying for it they can be lazy. What people need to realize is that they are paying for it indirectly. If workers blow off money on energy costs, they are very unlikely to see that money later. This example holds true for teachers as well. If teachers, and all of a school’s employees, do not try to lower energy costs, they will not see that money later in the form of a bonus or new classroom technology.

The idea of lowering energy costs in schools may sound a bit useless because many may argue that it is more trouble than its worth. In reality, it isn’t. It would be relatively easy to start a campaign that advocates the conservation of energy in schools. School districts would be surprised to see just how much money is being wasted on unused energy. Initially, it would save a few thousand dollars here and there. This money could definitely be utilized somewhere in the school district. Eventually, school districts could focus on other areas of the education field to save money in by conserving energy. These areas include things like transportation, recycling, grounds keeping, janitorial services, and more. There are a lot of possibilities which often get overlooked.

One school that has saved a lot of money conserving energy is Redmond High School in Seattle, Washington. Students initially trying to protect the environment ended up saving their school a lot of money. By simply reducing electricity use, they saved about $7,500. After a complete overhaul of the school district’s energy use, $550,000 was saved in only 2 ½ years. This amount of money would go very far in any school district and would give administration a break from the recent cuts in education funding.



Alisandra Wederich said...

I have noticed this in schools and colleges as well. In fact, my alma mater, Montgomery High School, which built a brand new high school recently, has a tendency to leave on all their parking lot and stadium lights all night long. I remember neighbors of the school complaining - not even about wastefulness at first but because the lights were bright enough to really light up the whole area - especially on an overcast night when the lights would illuminate the clouds.

After getting multiple complaints the school did find a way of not using all the stadium lights, but it still leaves many lights on because there is a night janitor and they do not want him to fall and hurt himself while he is on school property. In my opinion, why not just give him a big flashlight? There has to be a more energy efficient way.

I also know about the TV/computers being left on 24/7. I know that as a teacher you do not want to waste ANY instructional time sitting around turning computers or TVs on and waiting for them to boot. Teachers arrive to school and work hard to utilize every minute available to them - turning devices and on off seems a trivial matter comapred to lesson plans, grades, and other instructional elements of the day's classes. It might prove more effective if computers/TVs were wired to a single switch - I think that a teacher would be more likely to flick a switch than to have to go from device to device to boot up/turn off for the day.

Electrical Training Courses said...

We need to all do our part to conserve water and energy. Engaging yourselves in an environmental awareness activity is really an act that should be shared with others. It is a good deed indeed for many of us inhabitants of the planet earth. I hope lots of people will mirror this act and also share it to youngsters.