The four key roles in school energy management (beside students and teachers)

The vast majority of occupants in a school building are students.

So it’s not surprising that they play a key role in any effort to make the school more energy efficient. They have the most fingers that can turn off and on the lights.

Engaging them and educating them on energy efficiency and sustainability is crucial. Not only for achieving educational objectives, but also energy saving objectives.

That’s why En-trak Energy has a separate interface designed for student use–so these critical little actors can get in on the action.

And students are, of course, guided by their teachers. They also play a critical role in school energy management. They coordinate and direct student efforts.

Students are energetic, passionate, and great at finding ways to motivate their classmates. Yet, they often need practical help to make their efforts yield results.

En-trak Energy allows teachers to switch between both the student interface and a more detailed and professional interface. This way, they can find the right direction and guide the students down to it.

But energy saving, and sustainability as a whole, goes beyond teachers and students.

Every school relies on the support of a cast of facility managers, janitors, business managers, and more. They are the ones who enable the teachers to teach and the students to learn.

Let’s take a look at four of those people that have particularly important roles to play in school sustainability efforts.

Empty clean classroom

Cleaning staff

Schools must stay clean, and of course the cleaning staff don’t like to work in the dark or in hot, stuffy rooms.

But sometimes they can go a little overboard. They turn on the aircon for hours to dry mopped floors, or they can leave on the lights in an area that won’t be occupied for another hour or two.

Their cooperation with energy saving initiatives can make a big difference. And the best way to get that is by showing them the impact of their actions.

Then it’s easy to discuss how they can take energy saving into consideration without significantly affecting their ability to do their job effectively and in relative comfort.

Facility and operation managers

Hundreds if not thousands of pieces of electricity-using equipment are spread throughout the school. It’s the facility manager’s job to ensure they’re maintained and operated properly.

But they spend most of their time responding to complaints from teachers and other staff, and so they are typically wary of any energy saving initiatives that might increase those complaints (and therefore their workload!).

School lobby

So when they’re pressured to help with energy saving, they find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. That’s why it’s essential that communication about the impact of these initiatives be clear, understandable, and based on real data.

Not only can this help ensure compliance with energy saving efforts, but it can also help reduce complaints by engaging and informing the school community.

Business and admin managers

Someone has to make sure the school always has enough money for teaching supplies, and that someone is usually the business manager.

They are always on the lookout for wasteful spending, and energy waste is no exception. But they often encounter big obstacles when they encourage efforts to reduce the electricity bill.

They have little transparency into how school occupants use energy. They can only guess about the major sources of waste, and their cost-cutting focus doesn’t always make them the most popular person in the school.

Admin manager saving energy at school  

That last problem may be unsolvable, but at least they can improve their messaging. They can team up with “green teachers” to promote energy saving campaigns.

That way, the focus on the environment becomes everybody’s responsibility to protect it. Data and dollars and KPIs meet education and engagement!

And as for transparency, it’s a matter of data and access to its conclusions. With the right information they can easily set priorities and ensure follow-up. They just need the right tools!

Principals

Schools are communities that need leadership, and it is the principal that provides it.

Action and results can be achieved outside the principal’s priorities, but she / he can still lend a big hand to sustainability efforts by publicly expressing her / his support.

That’s easier to do if the principal can see and understand the impact of both problems and solutions. It gives them the confidence to promote sustainability as a school priority that will enhance the community in the long run.

Schools are places of learning, and the student-teacher relationship is at the core of that. But that relationship relies on a large amount of support from other staff in the school. For student / teacher sustainability efforts to succeed, they need that support.

And to provide that support, other staff members need the right tools and platforms to help them fit into the sustainability picture.


About En-trak

En-trak is an award-winning cleantech IoT company. We design and sell cloud-based solutions to help enterprises manage and optimize their energy consumption. Our flagship solution En-trak™ Energy enables users to know where, when and how they are using energy in real-time.

With continuous monitoring and advanced analytics, we’ve helped over 250+ world-class clients including Hong Kong Stock Exchange, National Environmental Agency, and Fuji Xerox achieve their sustainability goals. We’ve also recently launched our brand-new, patented En-trak™ Smart Lighting solution designed to help companies and building owners to automate and optimize their office lights.