Public schools want to do the best they can with what they have. It's the reason that a child in 2016 has a math book from 1996, and why the stained rug near the front entrance has never been changed. There just isn't enough money in the system for them to operate the way they'd like.
Every year, taxpayers spend $6 billion on public schools' energy needs. That's more than is spent on textbooks, salaries or food, according to Xcel Energy. In fact, the schools that are rated least efficient, when it comes to energy usage, end up needing three times more energy than those that are extremely efficient in the aspect.
So, what's the solution? Simple. Start implementing energy efficient practices on a daily basis. One of the easiest ways to do so is by installing an electric tankless water heater.
Managing energy usage
If school staff were to participate in a spelling bee, their first word would be e-f-f-i-c-i-e-n-t. Energy efficiency is the name of the game for the school budget, which constantly shrinks every year. To keep cuts from impacting student performance, other areas need to be slashed.
Xcel Energy's report pointed out that while utilities only take up 2.2 percent of a school's budget, it's one of the few areas that can be managed with few consequences. Of that utility expenditure, one-fifth goes toward water heating.
Most schools buy a storage water heater for one of two reasons:
- The administration before the current one had always bought a storage water heater.
- The upfront cost of buying the bulky tank is more manageable in the short term than electric tankless water heaters.
Both of those theories are as outdated as the textbooks that catch the dust on shelves around the school. Let's break it down.
Storage water heaters are common in schools because the technology is ancient – like many of the buildings. Budgets rarely allow for renovations, meaning no one stops to swap out the old with the new. This also creates a silent code of conduct, where administrators shy away from cost-saving technology because the upfront cost can be alarming to look at.
Storage water heaters suffer from standby heat loss. Gradually, the system loses the temperature of the water it had spent valuable energy and time on. This occurs when it doesn't receive a ton of use over the course of a few hours. Then, the next time a student turns on the hot water faucet the storage water heater uses extra energy warming the water that had already been heated once before.
"Storage water heaters waste energy through standby heat loss."
Doesn't that seem like a waste of resources? Imagine if a student sharpened a pencil until there was nothing left, used it for one class period, then took a new one because all the lead was gone. Every day that student repeats the process and ends up using three or four pencils a day when they only need one. That's a storage water heater, in a nutshell.
An electric tankless water heater, in contrast, is a student that only sharpens and uses the pencil when it's absolutely necessary. This child goes through noticeably fewer pencils than their counterpart. In turn, this student saves more money than the other, because they are using fewer resources over a longer period of time.
All maintenance workers have to do is set the temperature on the box, and watch the machine do its work. Electric tankless water heaters use thermal optic sensors to heat the water on demand, and use considerably less energy doing so. With no tank of warm water being stored, there's no waste of energy before the water gets to the faucet. Over the course of its life, the electric tankless water heater ends up saving the money it cost to install it – and then some.
Getting the most out of your system
Point-of-use electric tankless water heaters can boost the energy efficiency of certain locations. Whether it be under a sink, in a maintenance closet or in the school cafeteria, the systems are small enough to fit in places that a storage water heater simply could not.
Take the sink in a bathroom, for example. If the bathroom is at one end of the building, and the electric tankless water heater is at the opposite side, the system will most likely suffer some sort of strain. Electric tankless water heaters outlast storage water heaters by 5 to 10 years not only because they are a better piece of technology, but also because the boost they can provide a stressed system, according to the Department of Energy.
Instead of forcing water to travel hundreds of feet away, simply install a point-of-use electric tankless water heater under the sink. This will ensure consistent warm water, and will take some of the pressure off of the larger system running through the school.
By purchasing an electric tankless water heater, schools will quickly be on their way to saving on their utility bills.