Make Saving Energy at School Your Goal
By: Andy Farmer
Most people associate October with fall and Halloween, but October is significant for another reason: it’s Energy Action Month, too. With the hot summer periods behind us now, schools and homes need to be adequately prepared to handle colder temperatures and changing weather patterns.
Virginia Energy Sense, the state’s energy education program, seeks to raise awareness in the state about easy ways to save energy and help Virginia meet its goal of reducing electric energy consumption 10 percent below 2006 levels by 2020. We are committed to helping Virginians understand their energy use and what they can do to save energy easily and cost-effectively.
With the guidance of the Virginia Department of Education, we’ve developed a school curriculum to help teach the Standards of Learning on energy usage for elementary school students. The lesson plans and activities promote energy conservation and help students understand how to use energy responsibly.
Below are several tips and ideas you can use in your classroom and at home to conserve more energy this fall.
Energy Saving Tips for Teachers and Families
Maintain your HVAC systems – Be sure to change your air filters on a regular basis to ensure your HVAC systems are running efficiently. You’ll also make your home a more comfortable place to live.
Switch to LEDs – LED light bulbs use less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Switching to them will boost energy savings at home and at school.
Transition to programmable thermostats – Set the temperature in your classroom and home as low as comfortably possible with a programmable thermostat to ensure energy is not wasted when you’re away.
Turn off devices – Computers left on overnight can increase your school’s energy use. At the end of the school day, have students contribute by shutting down their computers when not in use.
Apply for rebates – Check our website for a list of rebates and incentives your utility or co-op offers and save some money while you upgrade your home’s energy efficiency.
Open the blinds – Maximize natural lighting during the day by keeping your blinds open. You’ll keep the lights off and avoid unnecessary electricity consumption.
Turn off the lights – Place reminders near light switches to help your students and family members get in the habit of turning off lights when they leave the classroom or house.
Seal those leaks – Be sure to caulk and weather-strip any leaks in your home or classroom to keep heat from escaping and energy usage low.
Adjust the water heater – Lower your water heater’s maximum temperature to approximately 120 degrees. This will produce savings of 7-11% on water heating costs.
Use power strips – Plug in multiple devices, including your smartphones, TVs and computers to a power strip to easily turn everything off when not in use.
You can also take action on Energy Efficiency Day, October 5, by reducing your energy consumption and finding ways to be more efficient. Not only will you be helping to conserve energy, but you or your business will be able to enjoy the additional savings you’ve helped create.
Author: Andy Farmer is the manager of Virginia Energy Sense, the Commonwealth’s statewide energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)