How Schools Can Use Less Energy & Spend Less Money without the Sacrifice

Making schools energy efficient need not be an exercise in sacrifice. Schools can get the same or better services, as well as increase the health and comfort of students and staff, all while using less energy.

The first step is to get an energy assessment that can help identify and prioritize opportunities for substantial energy and operational savings. Once these opportunities are identified, a school can develop a customized plan to reduce energy use, replacement and operating costs, and their carbon footprint. Common energy-saving measures for schools include installing high-efficiency lighting and lighting controls; heating, cooling and ventilation equipment; and motors, controls and variable frequency drives.

Incentives from government and/or utility-based programs may be available to help pay for the cost of an energy audit and/or energy efficiency upgrades. These rebates and incentives help schools lower the capital investment required to implement energy-saving strategies and technologies, as well as provide an attractive return on investment and payback due to savings on maintenance and energy costs.

In New York City and Westchester County, for example, schools with a Con Edison electric or natural gas account may be eligible for the following incentives from Con Edison’s Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Program:

  • Payment of up to 50 percent of costs, with a cap of $67,000, for a Level 3 energy audit
  • Rebates for high-efficiency electric and gas equipment including lighting fixtures and LED exit signs, packaged heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, motors, chillers, and water and steam boilers
  • Performance-based custom incentives for installing high-efficiency equipment or energy-saving solutions not eligible for equipment rebates

Check to see what funding may be available in your area.

By David Pospisil, Guest Blogger, Energy Efficiency Markets

David Pospisil is Program Manager of Con Edison’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program, New York, N.Y. You can join the discussion on LinkedIn (Con-Edison-Commercial-Industrial) and Facebook.

Lead Image: Classroom via Shutterstock

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Elisa Wood is a long-time energy writer whose work appears in many of the industry's top magazines and newsletters, among them Renewable Energy World and Platts. She serves as chief editor of Her work has been picked up by the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal online, Utne, USA Today and several other sites. She is author of the report "Think Microgrid: A Guide for Policymakers, Regulators and End Users." See more of her work at

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