EnergySmart Schools Save Money

By Margo Appel

Controlling energy costs -- a school district’s second largest expense after personnel -- is critical for districts that are constantly search- ing for more funds. One way to do that is to build energy-efficient, high-performance schools that combine good lighting, comfort, acoustics, and air quality.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergySmart Schools program provides information for districts that want to build these high-performance schools. While obtaining financing is a hurdle for any school construction project, taking this approach to design and construction can give your school district more financing choices.

In the past, the initial cost for such schools could be significantly higher than for their traditional counterparts. Now, thanks to technology advances and integrated design practices, the premium for a well-planned project is far lower -- or even nonexistent. Today, school districts enjoy fast paybacks -- usually five to eight years -- as well as ongoing returns on their energy efficiency investments.

In short, the business case for an EnergySmart approach has become stronger than ever.

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