- Students benefit from hands-on lessons in energy conservation and efficiency that will pay off now and in the future.
- Schools benefit from considerable cost savings, curriculum support, cross-functional team building and community involvement.
- Communities benefit from the partnerships established by the participants.
- The environment benefits from the more efficient use of polluting fossil fuels.
Michigan students participate in Green School activities
How Green Schools Works
The Alliance to Save Energy's experience with 18 schools in five school districts around the nation can help your school district set up and maintain a successful Green Schools Program.
Energy efficiency concepts fit in easily with many academic subjects and grade levels. Students learn how to assess energy-use behavior, monitor the effects of behavior change, and track resulting energy and cost savings benefits.
Students learn to see the "big picture" of energy efficiency. Students identify and explore energy's links to the environment, the community, and the economy. The program is a "real-world" experience that reinforces curriculum content with lifelong energy-saving practices.
Money saved on energy resources is money that can be spent on educational resources. Green Schools saves energy costs in two ways: through behavior change and building retrofits. Schools save energy by making simple changes in building operations and maintenance, and by teaching building users ways to use energy more efficiently. They also save water and reduce waste. In addition, inefficient equipment and technologies that waste scarce dollars and pollute the environment can be upgraded an investment that typically pays for itself within a few years.
While savings will vary based on local energy costs and an individual school's consumption patterns, the potential savings can be significant. Schools can dramatically reduce energy costs even before building retrofits are installed. Simple changes in energy use behavior and building operations - such as taking advantage of daylight where available, adjusting thermostats and minimizing equipment run times - can result in energy savings of up to 20 percent.
As an added incentive, school districts participating in the Green Schools program agree to return a portion of the savings from the no-cost behavior and operations changes back to the schools that earned them.
Green Schools Are Saving Money
Cost-effective retrofits can be financed by school district capital funds or by energy service companies, and often pay for themselves in a few years. Utilities and others can often provide technical assistance in determining appropriate measures to install, and in negotiating the financing arrangements.
- In their first year, three Green Schools in Seattle, Washington averaged more than $6,000 each in energy and water cost savings from behavioral and operational changes alone. These savings were realized in an area where electricity rates are the lowest in the country.
- Seattle also expects to save $260,000 each year after retrofitting its three Green Schools and 12 others.
- Four Green Schools in the Iroquois School District near Buffalo, New York saved 12 to 21 percent on electricity within the first eight months of implementing the program, with an average savings of $2,500 per school.
Need More Information
To find out more about the Green Schools' successes and resources for schoolwide energy efficiency, visit their web site at http://www.ase.org/greenschools/updates or contact the Alliance by phone at 202-857-0666.
The Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide.