Schools Can Save Big By Busting These Energy Efficient Myths

With school budgets tighter than ever, many administrators feel like significant energy savings and being energy efficient is out of reach. But the reality is that most schools could reduce their energy costs by 25% or more through smart energy management and efficiency upgrades. Let’s take a look at some common myths about energy savings for schools and the real facts.

Before and after lighting updates at Warren County Schools in Tennessee
A before and after of a lighting project update at Warren County Schools in Tennessee.

Myth 1: Energy isn’t a major part of a school’s budget.

Fact: For most schools, energy is the second highest operating cost after salaries. It’s more than what schools spend on books and supplies. So, reducing energy waste can free up significant funds for other priorities that focus on student and staff satisfaction.

Myth 2: Schools can’t save that much by being energy smart.

Fact: Just by turning off lights, computers, and other equipment during nights, weekends, and vacations, a school can reduce its energy bills by thousands per year. Energy retrofits like LED lighting, upgraded HVAC systems, and building automation controls even have the potential to pay for themselves through energy savings.

Myth 3: Energy efficiency doesn’t impact student performance.

Fact: Studies show the opposite is true. Improvements like better lighting, thermal comfort, and acoustic controls create an environment that boosts concentration and achievement. No one wants hot, noisy rooms! Efficiency upgrades directly improve these learning environments.

Myth 4: Upgrading old buildings requires a major upfront investment.

Fact: Not necessarily. Energy performance contracts allow schools to fund upgrades through future energy savings instead of hitting the capital budgets. Alternatively, schools can use lease-purchase agreements to spread costs over time. The bottom line is that there are a lot of creative ways to drive efficiency upgrades without big upfront expenditures.

Myth 5: New schools are inherently energy efficient.

Fact: Only if they are designed that way. Focusing purely on minimizing short-term construction costs often results in a building that wastes energy for decades to come. Schools must specify energy efficiency in the design process to ensure long-term savings.

Anderson County Schools classroom after ESG partnered with them on energy-efficient updates.

At ESG, we’re energy experts dedicated to helping schools maximize savings and create better facilities for students and staff. First, we partner with administrators to fully understand current and future facility needs. Then, we’ll spend some time evaluating existing systems to pinpoint the biggest areas of energy optimization. These insights will guide our team as we work together with you to develop a customized plan to improve your school. While each scenario is unique, our solutions will typically include modernized HVAC, lighting, windows, and more. The results are a more comfortable, productive place to teach and learn, with utility savings that can be redirected to other needs. If your school is ready to bust through the myths and realize real energy savings, let’s talk! We’re here to help make it happen.

Municipal Advisor Disclaimer Statement

ESG is as an engineering and energy services firm that designs and delivers energy-related and other infrastructure solutions. ESG is not a financial advisor or municipal advisor in the context of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as contemplated under the U.S. securities laws, and none of the information provided herein is intended as, or should be considered as, a recommendation of any particular financing structure or financial advice regarding any municipal financial product or the issuance of municipal securities under section 15B of the Securities Exchange Act, or otherwise.