Charlottesville City Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team are working together to reduce the energy and water footprint of all City schools. On April 11th, 2019 the School Board approved an Energy and Water Performance resolution, showing a commitment to achieving and maintaining high performing school facilities.
Continuing on past efforts, the City’s maintenance and development teams are specifying high efficiency building equipment, such as high-efficiency chillers and LED lighting, and are enhancing operational control through advanced building automation systems. Charlottesville Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team continue to investigate ways to accelerate the installation of high performance equipment throughout our schools.
The City is also working with each school to raise awareness about energy and water saving practices through education and outreach efforts that include distributing educational materials and providing tips and strategies that students and faculty can use to reduce the energy and water impact at our schools.
Each quarter a different theme emphasizes aspects of energy and water efficiency/conservation. The 2019-2020 themes are:
- Fall (September – November): The Value of Energy and Water
- Winter (December – February): Understanding Our Energy and Water Use
- Spring (March – May): Smart Energy and Water Use
- Summer (June – August): Keep Going! Summertime Savings
Have questions about this program? Contact the City’s Energy and Water Management Team at EnergyWaterTeam@charlottesville.org.
Learn more about other green initiatives at Charlottesville City Schools here.
2019-20 Education and Outreach
Winter Quarter: Understanding our Energy and Water Use
Did you know that the greenhouse gases produced from energy used at all 10 Charlottesville City Schools is equal to the greenhouse gases produced by 500 homes? We know our schools need resources to operate but what exactly uses energy and water in our schools every day?
We are asking students and faculty to try to identify what uses energy and water when you walk into your classroom each day. For energy, think about the overhead lighting, computers, electronics, and air conditioning/heating. For water, think about the water fountain in the hallway and sink in your classroom. What about at home?
There are also the items that aren’t as noticeable such as leaving your phone plugged in even when it’s fully charged or not paying attention to that dripping faucet. Even when a phone is plugged in and is fully charged, it still uses 2.24 watts of energy, and that slow drip…drip…drip of a faucet can waste 3,000 gallons of water a year!
Let’s reduce our energy and water impact at school and at home by focusing on these easy habits we can do each day.
Winter Quarter Tips:
- Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
- Make an effort to unplug personal electronics.
- Turn the water off when not in use.
- If you see a water leak or hear a running toilet, report it!
Fall Quarter: The Value of Energy and Water
The energy and water that we use at home and in our school are typically provided using finite resources. In Virginia, fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) are used to produce over 60% of the electricity that we use, with nuclear and renewables making up the rest. We also use natural gas directly to heat our school and to heat our water. The water we use is pumped from reservoirs fed by rivers and is treated before coming to our homes and school as clean, potable water. Simply put, our demand for electricity, natural gas, and water (the amount we use) has a direct impact on these resources. We have a responsibility to manage what we use but we’re also empowered with the ability to make lasting change.
In many cases we use more than we need, so we already have simple opportunities to reduce our impact. The best place to start is just becoming aware of when and how we use energy and water throughout our typical day. As you do your normal activities, think about how long you leave your lights on, leave your phone plugged in, and leave the water running. Now think about how you can adjust your behaviors to trim that up a bit. It’s a game of inches, not miles, and small changes add up to big savings.
Fall Quarter Tips:
- Last one out? Flip the switch!
- Turn the water off when not in use.