Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Smart Summer Shutdown: Tips to Save Energy and Protect Indoor Air Quality

US EPA - Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools

Summer break is a great opportunity to save energy and costs by shutting down certain buildings due to reduced use. However, when shutting down a building during a vacation period, energy waste reduction and protection of the indoor environment must be considered simultaneously. On one hand, significant savings can be achieved by turning everything off. On the other hand, you could wind up creating added costs by not monitoring and adjusting for indoor temperature and humidity. Fluctuations in the indoor environment can have a negative effect on both the building itself in the form of mold and dust mites, as well as on the building contents (such as books, files, sensitive musical instruments, or pieces of artwork). Taking a proactive approach this summer can prevent an IAQ problem in the fall.
In addition, summer may also be an opportunity to conduct large cleaning, renovation and repair projects in schools, and therefore may be a great time to establish and re-evaluate cleaning and maintenance practices throughout the facility to ensure that the fall session begins with quality indoor air.

Summer Tips:
School is out, but heat and humidity are in – follow these tips to reduce energy waste and maintain quality indoor air during periods of non-occupancy:
  1. Review summer repairs and equipment purchases to be sure they align with your IAQ management plan. Identify and prioritize any IAQ issues by using the IAQ Tools for Schools Walkthrough Inspection Checklist.
  2. Maintain a relative humidity level under 60 percent and allow room spaces to stay within 80-85°F to reduce energy waste and prevent mold and moisture issues.
  3. Relocate activities that occur in the summer to facilities without a centralized HVAC system so that smaller cooling systems can provide the needed air conditioning.
  4. Eliminate unnecessary plug loads by unplugging appliances such as small refrigerators and using power strips to turn off electricity to small appliances and computers.
  5. Adjust HVAC systems for partial loading conditions to allow for maximum dehumidification and reduced energy needs during unoccupied periods in the hot and humid season. Use data loggers or humidistats to monitor space conditions.
  6. Ensure cleaned carpets are thoroughly dried to prevent mold growth in the hot and humid months. If there are mold issues, follow EPA’s guidelines for mold remediation in schools.
  7. Consider using non-toxic cleaners, adhesives, paints, pesticides, solvents, carpeting, equipment and furnishings to reduce chemical fumes. For chemicals used in your school, implement a hazardous materials plan detailing use, labeling, storage and disposal using the Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign as a resource.
  8. Obtain the support of top level management to promote the vacation shutdown program.

1 comment:

  1. Really nice tips for the school! We need to all do our part to conserve energy. Engaging yourselves in an environmental awareness activity is really an act that should be shared with others. It is a good deed indeed for many of us inhabitants of the planet earth. I hope lots of people will mirror this act and also share it to youngsters.

    Contractor CE