The cost of energy is second to administrative and personnel costs in the American K-12 school budget, spending around $8 billion–mainly on space heating, lighting and water heating. Spending nearly a third, on average, of a school’s total budget on energy alone leaves less money for educational materials like books and supplies. This is why increasing numbers of Americans are agreeing that schools need to cut back on energy costs and educate our children with the resources they need and deserve.

Making American schools more energy efficient would not only increase monetary resources to spend money on more important materials, but also demonstrate leadership and present health benefits, like improved air quality in schools. Increasing energy efficiency demonstrates responsible stewardship as well as fosters demand for other organizations to use their energy more wisely. Similarly, it provides a basis for schools to educate their students about environmental issues.

Many organizations are making strides to increasing energy efficiency and attaining these leadership goals. Cenergistic, for example, strives to help clients improve energy efficiency in every aspect of their organization, from participants, equipment, goals and infrastructure. Many of their success stories include school districts, Cenergistic partnered with Allegany County, Md. public schools in 2003 and since the implementation, their energy use per square foot has decreased by 23%. Additionally, many of Cenergistic’s clients have earned Energy Star awards.

Strides like such are making a difference in how Americans view energy and are shaping the habits of American children. With these strategies, schools are on track to save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, and will be able to put the money where it belongs.…