The electricity bill makes up a significant proportion of a school’s total costs and finding ways to reduce it can help free up valuable resources. This article lays out some practical energy saving tips for cutting the school electricity bill that are either low-cost or no-cost at all. These small measures, when implemented across a school campus, can result in big savings.
1. Switch Off Computers and Screens
PCs and their monitors consume a significant amount of energy when they are switched on but not in use. You should configure your school’s PCs to automatically enter hibernate mode when not in use for a set period (for example, after 10 minutes). When in hibernate mode, PCs don’t use any energy. This can be easily done by accessing the ‘Power Management’ options in the Windows control panel.
Monitors should be manually switched off, when not in use. In particular, they should be switched off between classes and at the end of the school day. This is especially important last thing on Fridays, as any monitors left on will continue to waste energy over the weekend.
By employing energy saving on PCs, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) says that a school can save approximately €80 per computer per year.
2. Use Natural Light in Classrooms
Whenever possible, natural light should be used instead of classroom lights. The amount of available natural light is determined by both the weather conditions and how the classroom blinds are set.
It’s a good habit for teachers to open the blinds fully to gauge the amount of available light at the beginning of the day or lesson. That way they can adjust the blinds and lighting to suit the conditions.
It’s also important to make sure that all windows and skylights are kept clean to let in as much natural light as possible.
3. Use Modern Lighting Bulbs
Modern compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs use up to 75% less energy than old-style incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs should be systemically replaced with the more efficient modern ones. These modern bulbs can be costly when multiplied across an entire school, so this upgrade can be made incrementally, one classroom at a time.
4. Use Time Switches
Time switches can be used to automatically switch off electrical equipment when the school is not in use. Relatively inexpensive, plug-in switches can be used on equipment such as vending machines and water boilers. Time switches can also be used to regulate costly external lighting.
When using timer switches, it’s important to ensure that they are set for the correct time and on/off periods.
5. Switch Electrical Devices and Appliances Off Before the Holidays
Electrical devices and appliances will continue to use electricity throughout the holiday periods if not switched off. Even devices in standby mode will use electricity. To avoid this needless waste, ensure that all electrical equipment is manually switched off before long weekends and holidays. A comprehensive check-list of all school electrical equipment should be drawn up and each unit systemically checked throughout the campus before a break. This should include all lights, projectors, printers, PCs, photocopiers, TVs, vending machines, water heaters, etc.
6. Check That You’re on the Right Electricity Tariff
Utility providers usually provide a range of different tariffs. You should check with your provider to ensure that your school is on a package that best suits your energy usage. Considerable cost savings can be made by making a simple call!
For more ideas on cutting the school electricity bill and energy efficiency, check out the Energy in Education website.
Join the Conversation
The tips above for cutting the school electricity bill are not exhaustive and we’d love to hear your ideas. Please feel free to contribute in the comments sections below!
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