Last week, the Center for Green Schools at USGBC released "Powering Down: Behavior-Based Energy Conservation in K-12 Schools," a toolkit that follows the experiences of five public schools that have reduced electricity use by an astonishing 20 to 37 percent through behavior-based strategies alone. The paper, which was written with lead author Kate Crosby, looks to these schools as models for others and examines common strategies for every school to reduce its energy usage.
Energy conservation presents a compelling and rich opportunity for K-12 schools. We've seen growing awareness that a focus on energy use in schools can produce many positive results beyond the utility bills themselves. And there is new interest in behavior-based initiatives that involve faculty, staff and students in changing the culture of their school.
The five exemplar schools at the heart of this toolkit vary in profile and are spread across the U.S., but their programs are linked and defined by shared elements and strategies. They've achieved remarkable results while maintaining a strong commitment to a healthy environment for teaching and learning. The schools give us a window into what scale of result is possible when everything works together toward a culture of conservation in a school. They provide inspiration, and they give us the foundation to provide recommendations for schools everywhere.
There are so many benefits to engaging faculty, staff and students in energy conservation initiatives. The range includes significant cost savings, reduced environmental impact and expanded opportunities for student learning and leadership, in addition to positive effects extending beyond the immediate school community. The Center is excited to release this foundational resource for schools, and we've already seen interest from several school districts in using the toolkit as the written guidance for their district-wide energy programs with teachers and students. Take this toolkit to a school or district in your area, and see what results they can achieve!