Energy Efficiency Retrofits for Schools
Aging buildings and recent construction require maintenance. This maintenance fund can be expanded to include simple energy efficient retrofits, such as:
- Energy Efficient Hand Dryers for restrooms to reduce paper waste and custodial time
- Switch to Green Cleaners and implement green cleaning practices to reduce chemical disposal costs. More information is available at Healthy Schools Campaign.
- Lighting upgrades, such as T-12 to T-8 fluorescent lights, using LED and compact fluorescents where appropriate
- Installing motion detectors for lighting or simply educate students and faculty to Turn Off Lights or use less light when a room has natural light
- White Roof to better control air conditioning needs (estimated to save 10-15% of cooling energy)
- Cool Roof if you have funds to add insulation and use light color material
- Green Roof over part of the roof will conserve water, save energy and may aid in storm water control
- Native plantings on part of the grounds reduce mowing, conserve water, aid in storm water control
- Planting a Garden on part of the grounds increases agricultural learning and reduces mowing
- Reduce food waste by placing vermi-composting bins in classrooms. A grant is currently available to Will County schools.
- Reduce paper by implementing a Virtual Back Pack to e-mail faculty and parents information
- Recycle using AbitibiBowater's Paper Retriever Program for most of the paper or use one of many local haulers to decrease disposal costs by recycling all paper, including cardboard, and all types of containers
- Consider installing commercial wind turbines for energy generation
- Consider installing solar to preheat water or for energy generation
- Consider geothermal retrofits to save on overall heating and cooling costs
There are many schools throughout the nation implementing simple to complex changes to reduce costs, improve energy efficiency, and improve the learning environment overall. If your school has implemented any of the improvements listed or some other improvement, please let WillCountyGreen.com know. If appropriate, we will publish them as examples for others to view and consider.
Just outside of Will County, is Bloom High School in Chicago Heights. With grant funds they were able to install enough solar to power 24 classrooms, a greenhouse for fresh vegetables and a biofuel lab that powers a mini-bus used for education. For more information click on their efforts, click on Edutopia.
There are a number of grants available for funding projects, both large and small. Consider investigating the following:
- Earth Day Network Grant Programs give schools $500–$3,500 to work on school-greening projects such as schoolyard improvements, implementing environmental education, performing civic action, and achieving needed policy reform.
- The PG&E Solar School Bright Ideas Grant enables applicants to apply for grants of $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000 for solar, renewable-energy, and professional-development projects.
- EPA Environmental Education Grantsoffer a wide range of awards that support schools bringing in environmental-education projects. Most grants are $15,000–$25,000.
- Matching Energy Efficiency Grants from the Illinois State Board of Education for up to $250,000.
- Illinois Zero Waste Schools Grant Program offers funding for Illinois K-12 for recycling, waste reduction, composting and vermi-composting.