The news recently that Guam schools were taking the plunge into powering campuses with solar photovoltaics made me think that a couple of huge steps may have been missed prior to drafting and negotiating the first power purchase agreements as outlined by recently enacted legislation. While I am sure the Guam Power Authority has been supportive of the Solar PV initiatives by our education system, they also are going to be losing some revenue-a huge customer taking a modern step to keep valuable and limited resources in the classrooms from Yigo to Merizo. Federal tax credits will be secured-no doubt about that.
But what happened to grabbing the low hanging fruit of lighting, building controls, and modern-HVAC Systems? Did school administrators just ignore these important steps as part of a comprehensive energy efficiency plan in our schools? Did they forget the multiple presentations of a variety of sustainable solutions presented to them over the past 10 years by the policy wonks at Adelup, vested federal government agencies and private sector advocates?
Energy efficiency is one of the simplest and most cost effective ways schools can save money—money that can be spent on the tools, provisions, and facilities needed to provide students with a high-quality education. Reducing a school’s energy bill can save the school much needed funds that it can use towards important building upgrades or improving its educational infrastructure. Not to mention, that using energy efficiently sets a positive example for a school’s students and community, encouraging them to use energy efficiently in the future and throughout their lives-so very important for living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The lowest of the hanging energy efficiency fruit is lighting.
Lighting is one of the easiest sources of energy expenditures to adjust and regulate; however, alarmingly, over 25 percent of a typical school’s energy consumption is attributed to lighting. Our friends at Deco Lighting and other lighting manufacturers have said that LED lighting is the most energy efficient lighting technology on the market, and upgrading or retrofitting traditional lighting, such as fluorescent lamps, to LED is the most effective way to reduce the energy costs attributed to lighting.
The Commerce, California based company offers several LED retrofit kits that simultaneously improve the quality of light and reduce power consumption by up to 75 percent when compared to fluorescent tubes. Deco’s Linea Troffer and Parabolic LED Retrofit Kit upgrades standard 1X4, 2X2, and 2X4 fluorescent troffers in as little as five minutes. Moreover, there is no need to go above the ceiling or remove any existing housing when installing Deco’s Linea Retrofit Kit, which prevents exposure to any asbestos that the ceilings of many old buildings and schools may contain. Recently, the Guam International Airport Authority purchased these kits and the GIAA Team sees the value of such retrofits towards reducing their operating costs while addressing their critical lighting needs. All of Deco’s LED solutions are also backed by a 10-year, 100,000-hour warranty, which includes labor.
Additionally,students and teachers can do a lot to help save energy in their schools. Energy-saving things they do at home can also be done at schools. By turning out the lights when a classroom is unoccupied, the school can save money. The school may also want to consider "occupancy sensors" that detected whether there are people in the room. If no one is there, the switch turns off the light. Hot water is another area that uses a great amount of energy. By fixing dripping hot water faucets, you can save water and save energy. If it's cold water, fix the dripping faucet anyway because sanitizing and delivering water takes energy too. Leaving doors wide open to a room or building may make it more inviting to come in, but it wastes energy. Don't prop doors open but allow them to close after people walk through the doorway. And If the school has not set up a recycling effort, do it now. Reusing paper and recycling paper saves money and energy. Recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles
To find out more about how lighting retrofits can help improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs in schools, check out our website for solutions at www.get-guam.com or give GET, LLC a call at 671-797-0789. We are a provider of Independence LED Lighting and Deco Lighting Inc. products-Made in America!!!