7 basic strategies for creating high-performance schools
Many factors influence student performance such as indoor air quality, acoustics, and lighting. Deficiencies in any of these areas can have a dramatic effect on how well students achieve and teachers perform.
Therefore, choosing the right heating, cooling, and lighting systems for your school district is critical, as is your ability to maintain those systems. But we know that isn’t always possible, due to budgetary restrictions and personnel shortages.
As energy costs rise and aging buildings fail to perform as designed due to deferred maintenance issues, many school districts find themselves in difficult situations.
However, one money-saving option available to schools is creating an energy roadmap.
In this post, we’ll define energy roadmap and outline seven strategies that may result from creating one in your district.
Energy Use in Schools and the Value of a Roadmap
Think of an energy roadmap as a Rand McNally atlas for your district. The roadmap benchmarks how your district’s buildings and systems are performing today and helps you choose where you’d like to be in the future.
With this data in hand you can set and prioritize your goals, and you can choose to make improvements with the greatest return on investment.
Energy Roadmaps Lead to These Improvement Strategies
Performing an energy roadmap can lead to many useful strategies. While costs will vary, some have the potential to pay for themselves rather quickly. However, remember that any positive changes you make in your district – no matter how small – can lead to savings.
- Energy Analysis and Modeling: Once your district has been evaluated by an industry professional and you understand how your buildings use energy, you have the data in hand to make informed decisions about improvements and upgrades.
- Equipment Upgrades: Yes, upgrading your equipment can get costly. But with the data gathered through your district’s energy analysis and modeling, you have the ability to make an educated decision to repair or replace. Clearly, new equipment provides reliability, improved performance, energy efficiency, and decreased maintenance costs.
- Controls Upgrades: A Building Automation System (BAS) acts as the traffic cop in your buildings, directing when systems operate and recording how they operate. With a BAS, your team can monitor what’s occurring with your building systems – even remotely –
and set up schedules so your systems operate as needed. The data gathered can be invaluable when seeking ways to reduce energy use. And if you don’t have a proactive maintenance program, a BAS allows you to create one by doing the bulk of the work for you.
- Cooperative Purchasing: If you want to avoid the hassles and pitfalls of the bidding process, consider instead using a cooperative purchasing network such as the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance or Greenbush (unique to Kansas). Cooperative purchasing allows public and private schools to use contracts that have been competitively solicited between suppliers and public agencies (90,000 of them used by U.S. Communities).
- Energy Contracting: If purchasing new equipment or building automation isn’t an option, you might consider energy contracting, which allows schools to pay for infrastructure improvements with future energy and operational savings. Contracting helps cover project costs and is unlikely to disrupt your district’s finances.
- Financing: another option for districts looking to make infrastructure improvements is financing. Trane offers a variety of financing options including an anticipation discount program, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis, and financing services.
Making improvements isn’t always easy – or affordable. That’s why creating an energy roadmap and following any number of its underlying strategies can help you make the necessary changes to provide the best possible environment for learning, teaching, and working in your school district.
Are you looking for ways to improve the classroom environment for your students and teachers? If so, creating an energy roadmap may be the best solution. For more information, please contact Jonathon Goering by email or phone at 316-265-9655.
Knipp Services works with commercial and industrial building owners to lower operational expenses and increase building comfort.
We provide services that enable owners to have high-performance buildings. “Making Buildings Better” sums up the mission statement of Knipp Services.