Did you know that typically the largest controllable budget category in a school is energy related? Did you know that 5 to 25 percent of utility costs can be cut by implementing these recommendations from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)?


• Ensure manufacturer recommended maintenance for energy using equipment is being followed. Review warranty and service contracts to make sure you are receiving eligible services.

• Review purchasing standards to make sure equipment is Energy Star® rated.

• Appoint an energy manager to be responsible for energy issues. Put an energy team together to address your energy concerns. As a team, set reachable goals.

• Limit distributed cooking/kitchen equipment and provide such equipment in centralized staff lounges.


• Turn off lighting when you leave a room! Eight to 20 percent of lighting costs can be reduced by simply turning off lighting when rooms are vacant.

• Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and reduce energy use by 75 percent.

• Install occupancy sensors and verify that existing occupancy sensors are working properly. Adjust them if necessary.

• Replace exit signs with LED exit signs.


• Repair or replace damaged or incomplete weather stripping and caulking.


• Make sure buildings have annual combustion testing and boiler tune-up.

• Review HVAC schedules and set points to ensure minimum settings per ASHRAE standards. For each degree a system is reduced, 1 to 3 percent energy savings is realized for that time period. Typically, an 8 to 10° setback is ideal during unoccupied periods. Also, verify that outside air dampers are closing completely during unoccupied periods. NYSERDA has a free HVAC savings estimator to calculate your savings. (Visit www.nyserda.org.)

• Verify proper damper operation on HVAC equipment.

• Repair or replace faulty steam valves and repair leaks.

• Verify fans, coils, filters, and diffusers are clean and in good operating condition. Clean refrigerator coils.

• Inspect the condition of insulation and replace or repair as needed.

• Verify ducts are insulated and connected properly.

• Verify that the building is not heating and cooling at the same time.

• Verify that thermostats are accurate.

• Reduce hot water heating set points to manufacturer recommended minimums.

• Ask staff and students to dress appropriately for the weather.


• Take advantage of energy saving opportunities such as free power management software for computer equipment, available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at www.epa.gov/itprogrm/ezenglish.html.

• Install vending machine occupancy sensors.

• Make sure office equipment and computers are turned off at the end of the day.

• Activate power save features on copiers, fax, printers, and other office equipment. Determine if any equipment is unnecessary or can be turned off entirely.

Publication date:04/23/2007