Schools Take Holiday Break from Energy Waste | Alliance to Save Energy

Schools Take Holiday Break from Energy Waste

Release Date: Thursday, December 20, 2012

In these cash-strapped times, could your school benefit from some extra savings on energy bills? If the answer is “You bet!” simple energy efficiency “shut-down” measures over the winter break can deliver that holiday gift and leave more money for academic needs, advises the Alliance and its K-12 PowerSave Schools program.

“Energy efficiency is truly ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ while students and school personnel are on vacation,” said Alliance Vice President for Education Merrilee Harrigan. “Schools’ energy costs often exceed the cost of textbooks and supplies, so cutting down on unnecessary energy use can provide significant and needed savings.”

Enjoying Breaks, Saving Money

To facilitate those savings, the PowerSave Schools program has devised a handy Winter Break Shutdown Checklist modeled on the tips the program provides for the annual summer vacation. The list organizes energy-saving steps by category – the school building, water, refrigeration, electricity, lighting, and HVAC – noting whose approval is needed for each of the measures. They range from ensuring that all exterior doors and windows and closed and locked and that all unnecessary appliances are turned off to setting the heat to 55 degrees throughout the building.

“Shut-downs are when you capitalize on savings,” said Thomas Schneider, energy and operational efficiencies manager for the Montgomery County, Pa., North Penn School District, which participates in the PowerSave Schools Program.

“Schools are unoccupied 75% of the year, considering holidays, summers, nights, and weekends – so reducing energy use at those times is key to generating savings. The North Penn district’s decision to shut down 18 schools and two administrative buildings totaling 2 million square feet over the winter break should result in savings of $50,000 to $75,000,” Schneider added.

Saving Energy Year-Round

PowerSave Schools currently operates in a total of 83 schools in Southern California (Los Angeles Unified, Newport-Mesa Unified, Corona-Norco Unified, Arcadia Unified, La Habra City School District, Chino Valley Unified, and Centinela Valley Union High School Districts), Allegheny and Montgomery Counties, Pa., and Prince Georges County, Md.

Schools participating in the PowerSave Schools program engage students in hands-on learning activities that help create energy savings ranging between 5 and 15% each year. 

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