As K−12 school budgets dwindle and energy costs rise, fewer resources are dedicated to school operations and maintenance. As a result, the health and performance of these buildings (and the students and staff inside) suffer. With the cost to maintain and improve educational facilities increasing, schools need to invest in retrofits and ongoing maintenance to assert control over their utility costs.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the nation’s 17,450 K−12 school districts spend more than $8 billion annually on energy—more than is spent on textbooks and computers combined. An estimated $2 billion of that total could be saved by improving energy efficiency in schools, equivalent to the cost of nearly 40 million new textbooks. Complicating these calculations is the aging of America’s public schools, which are, on average, 44 years old, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The ‘functional age’ of public schools, when renovations are factored in, is 19 years.
The good news is energy is one of the few expenses that can be decreased without negatively affecting classroom instruction. Thousands of school boards have figured out ways to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements, demonstrating smart energy choices can have lasting benefits for their students, their communities, and the environment. Along with achieving significant energy cost savings, investing in energy efficiency can produce environmental, economic, and educational benefits.
In the latest edition of a series of free, downloadable e-books, an article from the pages of The Construction Specifier explains how HVAC upgrades can help reduce energy consumption and costs in educational facilities. To get your copy of “Ensuring Healthy Buildings,” visit www.constructionspecifier.com/ebook/rehau-ensuring-healthy-buildings-e-book.