As one of the Youth Ambassadors at the Energy Intelligence Center I am pleased to share my research and findings with you. As climate change becomes an increasing concern in the U.S. and around the world sustainability and energy intelligence are more important now than ever before. Cost effective technologies are available through a broad range of companies that have delivered proven results. As K-12 schools look to reduce operating expenses and also increase STEM education, energy intelligence measures can help reach both goals, while simultaneously fostering environmental stewardship. The following information is relevant to energy intelligence for K-12 schools and it will hopefully inspire other schools as well as business to take action:
LED Lighting Helps Schools and Universities Increase Energy Efficiency
While switching fluorescent light bulbs to LED lighting might seem like an inconsequential action, and the cost upfront for switching may seem like a big investment, the benefits for LED lighting far outweigh the cost upfront. Not only do LED light bulbs have a longer lifespan than fluorescents, they have a lower voltage operation and are also more energy efficient, making them more sustainable than fluorescents. Furthermore, the instant lighting capabilities and being able to withstand frequent switching, make LEDs more energy efficient than fluorescents.
The longer lifespan, lower voltage operation, instant lighting, and ability to withstand frequent switching that make LED lights more energy efficient than fluorescents also make LEDs more cost efficient as well. While a 4’ Fluorescent Tube uses 32 Watts per Tube, a 4’ LED Tube uses only 15 Watts per Tube. As a result, the annual cost to operate a 4’ Fluorescent tube is $9.98 while the annual cost to operate a 4’ LED tube is $4.68, costing less than half of the price to operate the same size fluorescent tube! As a result, switching form fluorescent to LED lights not only saves energy, but it also saves money in the long run.
Ameresco Offers Services to Help Schools Save Energy and Money
With services ranging from budget-neutral energy infrastructure upgrades to energy supply management to renewable energy, Ameresco offers several opportunities for saving energy in schools that can open up additional funding for educational programs. Through an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC), Ameresco can design, build, operate and maintain new energy facilities and school upgrades with no up-front capital costs, collecting a portion of the energy cost savings while the remaining savings are kept by schools and put toward other expenses.
Ameresco utilizes both pure and applied research to work collaboratively with school boards and academic and facility staff to align, implement and monitor school renewal resources to enhance teaching and learning environments while creating energy-efficient schools. Ameresco can train school faculty to educate their students on behavior modification that can dramatically reduce energy use.
Hands On Activity: Clean Energy Coloring Book
(for grades K-4)
Teaching the energy basics to kids in grades K-4 can be a difficult task, but it is crucial. The coloring book teaches kids about wind, water, solar, and other renewable energy sources, as well as energy efficient habits they can implement at home, through an interesting hands-on activity!
Coloring book: Get Current: Switch on Clean Energy Coloring Book
For more information on sustainability practices see this Energy Intelligence page for a range of clean-technologies.