Thomas A. Edison reportedly once said, "It's better to enlighten a child than to light a school room."
In California today, 55 percent of our schools are more than 30 years old. Most of them need to be modernized and upgraded to bring them up to minimum basic standards. That is why the State legislature invested billions of dollars for new schools in 2002 School Bond legislation, designed to match funds from local school bonds. Included in the legislation was a provision to encourage all new schools to be even more efficient than the Energy Commission's energy efficiency building standards. The investment would be money well spent. In addition to improving the learning environment, school districts could avoid millions of dollars in unnecessary energy costs.
California's school system is the largest in the country. One out of every eight students in kindergarten through 12th grade in America attends school in our state. Every year 100,000 new students enter the California School System.
California schools spend $700 million a year - nearly three percent of their total budget - on energy. That's about the same amount schools spend on books and supplies each year! By employing energy efficiency in our schools, we could cut our energy bills by 20 percent to 40 percent, leaving money for other educational priorities.
The links to the right will bring you to other places with more information for administrators and parents.
High Performance Schools incorporate the very best of today's design knowledge and technology to provide a better learning environment for our children in a facility that costs less to operate and is less damaging to the environment.
Information for Students
Students and teachers can do a lot to help save energy in their schools. Energy-saving things you do at home can also be done at schools.
Turn Out the Lights
Lighting is one of the largest users of energy in the classroom. By turning out the lights when a classroom is unoccupied, the school can save money. The school may also want to consider "occupancy sensors" that detected whether there are people in the room. If no one is there, the switch turns off the light.
Stop the Drips
Hot water is another area that uses a great amount of energy. By fixing dripping hot water faucets, you can save water and save energy. If it's cold water, fix the dripping faucet anyway because sanitizing and delivering water takes energy too.
Close the Doors
Leaving doors wide open to a room or building may make it more inviting to come in, but it wastes energy. Don't prop doors open but allow them to close after people walk through the doorway.
Change the Settings
Change the thermostat settings in rooms to 78 during warmer months and 68 during cooler months. Doing so will lower the heating and air conditioning use.
Reuse and Recycle
If the school has not set up a recycling effort, do it now. Reusing paper and recycling paper saves money and energy. Recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles.
Students... Get Involved
It's your school too! Get involved in saving energy. And don't forget to visit our Energy Quest Website