What is one of the biggest expenses in our nation’s schools today? You might think it’s staff salaries and benefits, or programs, books and supplies. Here’s a clue: It’s an expense that could be reduced without sacrificing educational quality. In fact, there’s a way that reducing this top expense could even augment learning.
The answer is utilities, and the solution is a more energy-efficient school. It has been reported that schools and university facilities are the third biggest energy user of all commercial building types. An even more staggering statistic:
How do we turn the tide of energy use toward real change? Enter KiloWatch.
This turnkey program allows a designated program ambassador and their students to better understand how their school building(s)–and more importantly, how the people within those building(s)–use energy. This energy-management approach gets many key staff involved and then also integrates inquiry-based science, math and language arts to provide students with a real-world learning experience. Even better, the program is tied to state and national learning standards.
KiloWatch is currently in place in the Syracuse City School District and has already had a lasting impact on simple behaviors like turning classroom lights off to allowing students to present monthly reports on possible areas of improvement. The program uses professional auditing equipment to help students learn directly about technologies and best practices through conducting experiments and continual energy audits of their buildings.
Perhaps one of the biggest strengths of the program is that all of the knowledge teachers and students alike learn at school, they also bring home with them, spreading the long-term benefits of energy efficiency in the home and beyond. If you’re an educator or administrator, this is the perfect time of year to start thinking of implementing KiloWatch into your 2015/2016 curriculum.