School Energy Audits Reveal Millions in Potential Savings

03/28/2011 |


A two-year energy audit of Hamilton schools (Canada) has identified energy conservation methods that could reduce energy costs by approximately $2.4 million annually.  This audit, conducted by faculty and students at McMaster University, could benefit and apply to other schools and facilities.

The measures taken to achieve these energy savings run the gamut, including adding insulation, recaulking windows, using more efficient lighting, advanced heat recovery systems and boilers, and even solar and wind generating systems.

"We found that the school boards are already involved in implementing many of the more achievable energy conservation measures at their schools," says Samir Chidiac, professor of civil engineering at McMaster and one of the lead organizers of the audit. "But they need support and decision tools to install technologies that will generate the greatest savings over the long term."

Schools were classified into groups by similar characteristics referred to as archetypes (school size, building envelope, electrical, etc) and then findings were used to apply to other schools sharing archtype qualities.  Usage of this method of archetyping reduced the time of the audit by a full six years.

"This archetype system can very easily be applied to any school system in a similar climate zone to calculate energy savings potential," says Jim Cotton, associate professor of mechanical engineering, McMaster University. "The opportunities for reduced energy consumption and cost saving are tremendous."

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