Preparing educational facilities for the start of a new school year is critical for the health and well-being of students, teachers, and staff alike. Healthy schools increase a student’s ability to concentrate and learn and a teacher’s ability to effectively instruct.
Here are five steps to consider for preparing a school’s heating and cooling systems. In addition to reducing a district’s energy use, these steps also can help reduce operational expenses while maintaining the comfort of those in the building.
- Replace filters. Replacing a system’s filters is one of the easiest and least expensive things to do, and yet doing so has among the most profound effects on the quality of the air in a building. Dirty air filters place a tremendous amount of strain on heating and cooling equipment, leading to increased energy use and breakdowns and higher utility bills. Look to replace filters every six months.
- Clean air ducts. Make sure the air ducts throughout the building are clean and free of obstructions. Otherwise, air cannot pass through them and into the space being cooled or heated. Blocked or dirty ducts can leave a system unbalanced, which can strain equipment and increase energy use.
- Calibrate building controls system setting. The district has been out of session all summer, and the building controls system reflects this pattern. Now, since students and staff will occupy classrooms and other spaces throughout the day, new operational schedules need to be created. Adjust the controls system to mirror the new schedules, which will increase building efficiencies dramatically. If the system is too complex to change for school maintenance staff, ask the controls provider to make the necessary adjustments.
- Be proactive - create a maintenance schedule. Creating a plan for maintaining heating and cooling systems will lead to reduced utility costs, fewer equipment breakdowns, increased equipment life, and improved occupant comfort. In fact, emergency requests can be reduced by 60 percent with a planned maintenance plan. Being proactive – spending a little money now – can minimize a host of enormous costs and headaches in the future.
- Be an educator. Instruct teachers and staff about the importance of facilities maintenance and how it unquestionably contributes to the health and well-being of a building. Ask them to report instances where comfort issues exist, if equipment makes unusual noises, or if they have requests specific to their areas. Communication is key and will help ensure that students learn and teachers and staff perform in the best possible environment.
The start of the school year brings many changes to buildings that have sat mostly dormant during the summer. By following these five simple steps, maintenance professionals will play an important role in preparing the environments where teaching and learning transpire. And in so doing, they can help reduce energy use and increase the lifespan of heating and cooling systems.
Is your district prepared for the new school year? Are there heating and cooling issues in your school district that need to be addressed? Indoor air quality issues? 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.
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