Jul 7, 2022

Energy Efficiency in Education


Since the early 1990s, the nonprofit Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) has helped a growing number of Minnesota’s educational facilities to save millions of dollars in annual utility costs. Through a comprehensive, multi-season energy study, CEE’s engineers will help your school building to plan thoughtfully and take action on energy-saving opportunities to lower operational expenses.

An average student spends more than six hours each day at school, which means the benefits of efficiency go much further than just energy savings. Embracing efficiency also helps improve indoor air quality, lighting, acoustics, and overall comfort, fostering better student performance by creating a better environment for learning.

From school buildings to traditional offices, and everything in between, we have extensive experience reducing energy waste in many types of facilities. Our professional engineers are specially equipped to meet the needs of complex or unique buildings with an emphasis on low- or no-cost solutions. We clearly communicate our findings and make sure that our recommendations fit both your budget and your building’s operations. And as an independent nonprofit, we’re mission-driven to provide unbiased, energy- and cost-saving recommendations.

Existing Building and New Construction in Schools

Existing Building Recommissioning at Oak Grove Middle School

  • Identified energy savings and opportunities to improve operational efficiency.

  • Annual savings of $96,623

  • 453,154 kilowatt hours of electricity saved

  • 106,505 natural gas therms saved

  • 1.2 year payback 

New Construction Commissioning at West St. Paul School District 197

  • CEE’s engineers reviewed construction plans with a focus on energy, maintainability, and operational issues, and will test all mechanical and electrical systems to ensure optimal performance.

Phases of New Construction Commissioning

  • Design Phase. Our team confirms that design plans, specifications, and other documentation are consistent with each other, include commissioning requirements, and meet the owner’s project requirements.

  • Construction Phase. We ensure that equipment, systems and assemblies are properly installed, integrated, and operating in a manner that meets the owner’s requirements.

  • Acceptance/Testing Phase. We undertake and document functional testing to provide performance benchmarks and confirm that the project meets defined requirements.

  • Warranty Phase. We conduct an onsite review of building operations after substantial completion, typically near the end of the warranty period.

“Within our limited budget, maximizing the useful life of older equipment is part of good stewardship. CEE found smart ways to cut waste while making the most of what we have.”

Mark Fortman, Director of Operations, Independent School District 197, Mendota Heights