Educational facilities from colleges to grade schools are finding that they can achieve significant cost savings as well as reduce their carbon footprint by implementing a few key sustainable measures that range from lighting retrofits to “green” roofs.
As an example, Olympic College in Washington state expects its power consumption to drop by more than 813,000 kilowatt hours per year, while reducing the school’s carbon emissions by 544 tons after it completes its lighting upgrade and retrofit at all three of its campuses, reports Bremerton Patriot.
The school expects to offset more than half of the cost of the project through a $226,000 rebate from Puget Sound Energy, according to the article. In addition, the school estimates a savings of nearly $5,000 per month in electricity costs on the three campuses.
The project, under contract with the Light Doctor, will include the replacement of current HID lights in parking lots with more efficient fluorescent bulbs. The lighting company told the newspaper that the school will also replace current 32-watt LED lights with smaller 28-watt bulbs, T-12 fluorescent bulbs with more efficient T-8s and use one of the newest technologies in the lighting industry, T-5 bulbs.
Taking energy-efficiency optimization one step further, the new Prairie Point Middle School and 9th Grade Academy in Cedar Rapids, Idaho, has installed a state-of-the-art energy management system and geothermal system, reports TradingMarkets.com. The new school was designed from the start, with the help of Alliant Energy, to reduce energy consumption and heating and cooling costs.
The energy management system will be programmed to shut down systems after hours to decrease unnecessary energy use.
Alliant Energy’s Commercial New Construction program helped the school decrease electricity consumption by nearly 60 percent, saving more than 2,712,243 kWh of electricity each year, according to the company. This translates into an estimated $191,172 in annual energy costs, energy efficiency rebates of $380,000, and avoidance of more than 1,948 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
The University of Texas at El Paso is using a green roof to achieve energy savings. The Biology Building at the University of Texas is said to be among one of the first commercial buildings in the region to feature a green roof, reports the El Paso Times. The 9,156-square-foot roof is designed to improve the building’s energy performance and extend the roof’s life.