District Administration May 2018 - 46
puter labs to laptops and Chromebooks.
Computers are no longer left running
idly. "In the old days-the old days being
15 years ago-the traditional box computers sitting on the floor used to consume more energy than the monitor," says
Renkosik. "Now they consume less, and
the monitor is the big energy consumer."
Learning spaces now require less overhead lighting because every student and
teacher has an illuminated screen in front
Classrooms are lit to the new standard
of 50 foot-candles, rather than the previous standard of 70, further reducing
Because utility companies set annual
rates by measuring peak periods, the district also staggers when equipment comes
on each day, limiting usage spikes. Digital controls were upgraded on HVAC
and lighting equipment, and sensors were
added so that only occupied rooms are
heated, cooled or lit.
Seven of the nine buildings in the
district were recently recognized by the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's
Energy Star program.
Upgrading Wi-Fi while managing
costs and power needs is another chal-
lenge for many districts. Some districts
band together to improve purchasing
opportunities. For instance, the state of
Connecticut has formed a school collaborative that works with internet providers
to offer affordable access and to upgrade
Many 1-to-1 districts have one wireless access point (internet connecting
device) per classroom, which can be overkill as a single access point often has much
higher capacity than one class. Combining access points can increase efficiency
without affecting Wi-Fi performance.
State and federal programs provide millions of dollars in grants and loans to
K12 schools for energy improvement. In
2012, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) passed in California, providing
$550 million for public energy projects,
including at K12 schools.
Santa Paula USD used those funds to
complete a districtwide upgrade focused
on conservation and efficiency that is
projected to save $4 million over 30 years.
The district implemented three primary projects across more than 75 buildings, says Doug Henning, facilities and
9 steps to savings
Suggestions for improving energy efficiency at older schools:
1. Replace incandescent lamps in exit signs with LEDs.
2. Replace T12 fluorescent lamps and magnetic ballasts with high-efficiency
T8 lamps and instant-start electronic ballasts.
3. Replace incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
4. Install wireless motion sensors for lighting in rooms that are used
5. Replace HID lights with T5 HO fluorescents in gymnasiums.
6. Install more efficient exterior lighting for façades and parking lots.
7. Replace kitchen appliances with Energy Star models.
8. Repair broken and visibly damaged windows.
9. Lower thermostats when a building is unoccupied.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy
46 May 2018
construction manager. Exterior lighting
was changed to longer-lasting LED bulbs,
new energy management controls were
installed-such as digital thermostats
and online monitoring software-and all
wall-mounted HVAC units in long-term,
portable buildings were replaced with
newer, more efficient models.
"I'd walk by on the weekend at night
and I'd hear the air conditioning humming in the vacant buildings," says Henning. "And I'd be thinking, 'That can't be
good-we're just wasting energy.'"
At Huntley Community District 158,
exterior lighting is turned off overnight,
which saves energy and has even improved
security as vandals cannot see well enough
to cause mischief, says Renkosik.
Lighting upgrades have also had a big
impact at Ysleta ISD in El Paso, Texas. A
$400 million bond was recently passed to
consolidate buildings in the 102-year-old
district, as well as eliminate inefficiencies.
In addition to replacing older facilities
with fewer, more efficient structures and
installing high-efficiency air-conditioning
units, the district switched to LED bulbs
in more than 60 buildings.
The initiative, which took only six
months to complete and caused little dis-
A district that simply replaces 5,000
computers and monitors with Energy
Star-labeled products and activates
power management can save nearly
Source: The U.S. Environmental
After HVAC and lighting, education
technology now consumes the most
electricity in schools-nearly 14
percent of overall usage. On average,
K12 buildings in the U.S. use 10
kilowatt-hours of electricity per year,
at a total cost of nearly $8 billion.
Source: Orlando Utilities Commission
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