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Energy Efficient Schools and Students: Reasons to Change
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons to Change
Barriers to Change
P2 Opportunities
Case Studies
Glossary of Terms
Key Contacts
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Energy Design Guidelines for High Performance Schools--Cool and Dry Climates
Energy designs included in this 88-page document includes case studies as well as site designs, dayl...

Green Schools: Attributes for Health and Learning
Evidence has accumulated that shows that the quality of indoor environments can affect the health an...

Greening America's Schools: Costs and Benefits
Written by Gregory Kats, this report is intended to answer this fundamental question: how much more ...

Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (HealthySEAT)
EPA has developed a unique software tool to help school districts evaluate and manage their school f...

National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF)
Created in 1997 by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Faci...

<big><b>Energy Efficient Schools and Students: Reasons to Change </b></big> This section outlines short-term and long-term benefits and justifications for implementing energy education and designs in schools.

School administrators and school boards want justifiable, measurable reasons for exploring and eventually implementing energy efficiency upgrades or designs. Supporting reasons can be complex, but the most commonly accepted reason is the simple payback for both long-term and short-term economic gains. Some of the more complex reasons include:


Compliance to energy regulations as well as environmental regulations is quickly becoming a major incentive for implementing energy efficient designs. Some states and local governments require that building renovations and new construction meet certain energy efficiency codes and standards. Improving energy efficiency also reduces contributions to global warming and other environmental impacts.

Cost and Competitive Advantage

Energy efficient activities save money in direct and indirect costs related to materials, operations, and pollution or waste treatment and disposal. For example, sealing gaps around windows and doors has the added benefit of reducing or eliminating the presence of pests. Some opportunities, such as rebates and tax incentives, can reduce the initial upfront costs.

Health and Safety

Classroom health improves with better ventilation, low-glare lighting, and better-managed classroom temperatures. Newer HVAC equipment generates less waste and water, as well as being more economic to operate. This improves air quality and safety in the work environment. It also reduces the likelihood or severity of gaps around windows, doors, and other avenues for pests (and unmanaged air) entering the building. This directly improves the air quality and reduces (or eliminates) the need for pesticide use within the building, thus decreasing exposure of occupants to chemicals. Many energy efficiency upgrades can improve the quality of the school indoor environment, protect and even enhance indoor air quality, without sacrificing energy performance. Improving the indoor school environment leads to decreased student and teacher absences, and increasted test scores.


A broad-based aspect of P2 is the more efficient use of raw materials, staff resources, equipment, energy, and water. Inefficiencies indicate older technologies, or equipment, HVAC systems, etc. and/or poor quality control of processes. Also, as mentioned above, productivity in terms of staff and student performance may be improved when the indoor environment is improved.

Improved Community Relations, School Image, and Staff Support

Schools play important roles within the community by setting examples. By implementing energy-efficient practices in both retrofits and new school constructions, parents, members of the community, and local governments appreciate the savings and the redesignation of funding for education as opposed to energy costs. They will be more supportive of budgeting requests and they will incorporate the energy efficient designs in their own offices and homes. Students, teachers, staff and administrators will become more aware of their personal behaviors regarding energy consumption.


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Energy Efficient Schools and Students Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 7/6/2011