An Overview of Facility and Efficiency Improvements for a Healthy School Environment

Beyond the basic operations of school facilities, there are many ways for schools to improve building efficiency and reduce wasteful activities that can harm the environment.

This section summarizes just some of the information on efficiency and operational improvements, and ways to keep children safe during emergencies.

On this page:

Why It's Important

  • Targeting energy efficiency in their operations and maintenance can typically reduce bills by 5 to 20 percent.
  • Reducing water use can help communities to meet water demands, save energy, and reduce stress on our natural resources.
  • A school can experience an emergency at any time that poses a threat to the health and safety of students and staff. Plans for student, staff, and facility safety and response can greatly reduce risks.

What You Can Do

  • Determine the school's energy use baseline and identify areas or rooms where energy efficiency upgrades can be made.
  • Determine the school's water use baseline, and upgrade inefficient fixtures and irrigation processes, install water-saving devices and repair problems immediately.
  • Waste reduction makes good business sense because it can save money through reduced purchasing and waste disposal costs.
  • Establish safety plans and be prepared to implement them in case of emergency.

EPA and Federal Partners

  • ENERGY STAR for K-12 School Districts describes EPA's partnership with schools across the country to provide technical support, guidance on financing options and recognition for schools wanting to use energy more efficiently. ENERGY STAR has coordinated with EPA's Indoor Air Quality program to address the overlap between energy efficiency upgrades and indoor environmental quality, and it has launched an energy performance rating tool in schools.
  • Water Conservation Tips for Schools by EPA describes energy-saving devices schools may install to reduce water use and links to EPA water resources for teachers.
  • Multihazard Emergency Planning for Schools is a comprehensive Federal Emergency Management Agency website that helps schools put plans in place to respond to many different types of emergencies. The website offers tools and sample documents to address issues such as hazards analysis, exercises and drills, prevention and preparedness, response and recovery, training and development of staff and much more.