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Why Energy Management Is Crucial In Educational Facilities

Educational institutions in the United States serve more than 80 million students in over 120,000 facilities. As a result, annual K-12 energy costs of $181.53 per student have been reported by the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, suggesting that the total annual energy spend for education, including higher education, could come to about $15 billion.

Additionally, educational buildings are, on average, much older than the people who inhabit them. The average age of a K-12 school facility, based on 2010 data, was 42 years. No similar data is available for Higher Education.


In addition to these numbers, here are a couple of reasons why energy management presents unique challenges and opportunities for educational facilities.

Education budgets, particularly for public institutions, are very visible and subject to public oversight. The result is often cost-averse budget decisions with an emphasis on “first cost” rather than “life-cycle cost”. It is also important to note that legislation across the nation does not allow the combining of capital and operating budgets for construction projects.

From an energy management perspective, these observations taken together suggest that school facilities represent high-dollar savings possibilities through retrofits and new construction. Behavior-based energy conservation programs also offer opportunities for significant gains in energy efficiency. A recent industry survey suggested that the average school district could save 10-15% or more in energy expenses annually simply by implementing a comprehensive behavioral energy awareness program with no capital expenditures (only takes time and doesn’t cost a dime).

This enormous potential should make energy management a crucial component of the academic budgeting process.

The information above comes to us primarily from a new eBook on Energy Management in Education, which is now available from EnergyCAP.

The eBook was created in collaboration with Lorenz (Larry) V. Schoff, P.E.. Larry completed 50 years in facilities management in 2014, including 30 years with educational facilities. He served nine years as the Schools Sector Technical Analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy Rebuild America/EnergySmart Schools program. Since 1998, he has visited over 1500 educational facilities both in the US and Europe.

In addition to providing background information on energy management opportunities in the education arena, the new eBook includes chapters on:

  • Establishing an Institutional Energy Policy
  • Implementing the Energy Policy
  • Developing an Energy Management Plan (EMP)
  • Establishing a Utility Bill Knowledge Base
  • Building a Baseline with ENERGY STAR
  • Identifying Inefficiencies

We encourage you to download and share this new resource with your colleagues.



Posted by
Barry Kroeker

Barry is Senior Marketing Manager for EnergyCAP, Inc., where he works on content development for marketing campaigns, online directories, social media, client case studies, and print advertising. He tinkers with PPC and SEO, and (when not at work) plays oboe, chess, and tennis.