Arlington Public Schools is committed to reducing our energy usage and promoting energy and environmental awareness for our staff and students. In times of increasing budget constraints, saving energy offers us a win-win strategy – reducing our green house gas emissions and saving money. Here are some useful tips on how we can save energy at school and in your homes.
Heating and Cooling
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), you can save 5 to 15 percent per year on heating and cooling bills by turning the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. That’s a savings of as much as 1 percent for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. Purchasing a programmable thermostat and setting back your temperatures when you are not at home saves money and prolongs the life of your equipment.
For APS, reducing our heating and cooling usage by 5% would be equivalent to removing 1,724 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide emissions. This is the same as the annual emissions from 338 vehicles or the energy used in 150 homes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a useful tool from the to calculate green house gas emissions equivalencies.
Lighting often accounts for 22% of the overall energy consumption in offices and facilities. Remembering to turn off lights will save money. The difference between operating a 75 watt bulb for 6 hours a day versus 24 hours a day is $49 annually. The costs quickly add up when we leave more than one light on. In schools, leaving 100 lights on results in $4,900 in wasted cost and energy usage.
Switching to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) greatly reduce our energy usage and costs. An 18 watt CFL is equivalent to a 75 watt incandescent light bulb. Operating 100 18 watt CFLs 6 hours a day for a year would cost $365. An equivalent 75 watt configuration would cost $1,825 a year.
So please remember to turn off lights when you leave the room and at the end of the day. Replace any old incandescent bulbs with a more energy efficient compact fluorescent.
Computer Power Management
Office equipment accounts for at least 26% of overall energy consumption and in some offices can account for over 40% of energy consumption. A computer with 2 LCD monitors uses on average 140 watts of energy. Leaving just one of these systems on 24/7 would cost $146.76/year. Contrary to beliefs, screen savers do not save energy and more graphically intense images actually use more energy.
Power management (setting your computer and monitor on sleep or hibernate modes) is an extremely useful tool to use. By putting your computer system in sleep mode during the day when not in use and shutting down the system at night, you save money and also prolong the life of your computer equipment. According to EPA’s Energy Star, you can save up to $75 annually per computer if you shut down you computer and monitor every evening. Many operating systems now have power management features under their control panels and many list an Energy Star option.
Appliances – Refrigerators
The second largest user of electricity in homes is the refrigerator. Since we can not use our refrigerators less to save energy, the best way to save energy is to buy a more efficient model. Newer refrigerators are extremely efficient over pre-1986 models. According to the DOE, a 1986-era 18 c.f. fridge uses 1400 kWh a year, while a modern energy-efficient model uses only 350 kWh — a 75% reduction. At 11¢ kWh, trading in a pre-1986 fridge for a new efficient one would save about $116 a year in electricity costs.