The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports the country’s school districts spend more than $6 billion per year on energy. The agency notes that amount exceeds the combined expenditures for computers and textbooks. Moreover, “up to 30% of a district’s total energy is used inefficiently or unnecessarily.” While it is possible to retrofit older schools or to implement programs that lower energy consumption, the clear way to use energy most wisely is to design and build schools from the start with that goal in mind.
School districts typically paid $1.25 per square foot annually for energy in 2008, according to Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. At that rate, a mid-size district operating 800,000 square feet of facilities spends $1 million or more per year for energy. Rising energy costs cut into schools’ ability to fund critical educational needs, from books and supplies to teachers.
While it is possible to retrofit older schools or to implement programs that lower energy consumption, the clear way to use energy most wisely is to design and build schools from the start with that goal in mind. A key is ensuring a tight, well-insulated building envelope. Educational facility professionals at all levels – from private grade schools to public colleges – are developing ultra-energy-efficient schools with advanced building envelope components such as structural insulated panels (SIPs).
SIPs help reduce energy consumption in educational facilities and other institutional and commercial buildings up to 60% and provide a ready way to help achieve net zero energy status. As building heating and cooling are a major part of school operating budget costs, lowering energy use is a key way for administrators to save money year after year.
Continue to Read Full Article in Educational Facility Planner Magazine’s sustainable communities feature: Reducing School Operating Costs via Building Material Choice. Here you will understand more about SIPS and read about the following schools across the country that used SIPS as their energy efficient building product of choice.
- Finn Hill Junior High: Kirkland, WA
- Jacob E. Manch Elementary School: Las Vegas, NV
- Little Big Horn College Health & Wellness Center: Crow Agency, MO
- San Diego Office of Education’s Camp Cuyamaca, new dorms & lodge: San Diego, CA
- Zuni Christian Mission School: Zuni, New Mexico
- Portland Oregon Community College, Newberg Center: Portland, OR
Want more? See a few articles that we have featured on SIPs school projects on our blog:
- Energy Efficient Culinary Institute to be Certified EA Gold
- Historic Native American Architecture Successful with SIPS
- SIPs used in one of Washington State’s most energy efficient schools
Contact Joe Pasma, PE, Premier SIPS’ Technical Manager