We can teach you the science and economics of efficiency.

When it comes to energy efficiency, the more you know, the better.

Nationwide, schools spend more than $8 billion per year on energy, which is more than the annual cost of books and supplies. To help lower the cost of education, DTE Energy offers many ways school districts can reduce energy expenses. So do your homework! Because the more you know, the more you can save.

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration

In 2008, Walsh College opened a new classroom building that incorporated numerous green features to achieve LEED Gold certification and to meet its seven-year payback schedule.

Watch Video

High-efficiency condensing boilers, demand control ventilation and energy recovery ventilators were just some of the measures Gwinn High School used to save a projected $48,000 annually.

Learn More

DTE Energy can help your bottom line with incentives – prescriptive, custom or new construction -- that can substantially reduce the cost of your business projects.


Reduce drinking fountain cooling during off hours
Water fountains generally don’t need to provide ice-cold water 24 hours a day unless it’s required for health reasons. In most cases, you can turn off the cooling systems in drinking fountains during off hours.

Use timers or sensors to operate at specific times
Refrigerated vending machines typically operate 24/7, using 2,500 to 4,400 kWh/year and giving off heat and adding to cooling loads in the spaces they occupy. Timers or occupancy sensors can yield significant savings in this environment because they allow the machines to turn on only when a customer is present or when the compressor must run to maintain the product at the desired temperature. When it’s time to replace or add vending machines in your facilities, consider specifying ENERGY STAR®–certified models—each one can save more than $150 annually on utility bills.

Source for the above Appliance tips: Business Energy Advisor.



Use ENERGY STAR®-certified commercial steam cookers
ENERGY STAR®-certified commercial steam cookers save 4,930 kWh (electric models) or 33 MBtu (gas models) annually. This equates to an annual savings of nearly $510 on utility bills.

Use ENERGY STAR®-certified hot food holding cabinets
Hot food holding cabinets that are ENERGY STAR®-certified are 70% more energy efficient than standard models. On average, ENERGY STAR®-certified models can save $300/year on electricity or more than $2,800 over the lifetime of the product when compared to a standard model. Good practices can save $650 annually by turning off an uninsulated holding cabinet when the kitchen is closed (8 hours).

Reduce vent hood use
Vent hoods are among the most energy-intensive equipment on college campuses and should be kept off unless they’re needed for experiments or material-storage purposes.

Sources for the above Cooking tips: and Business Energy Advisor.



Align building automation systems with occupancy schedule
Make sure temperature setbacks are coordinated with building occupancy on a quarter or semester basis. Facility engineers can coordinate with campus staff to align the HVAC schedules in the building automation system (BAS) with expected occupancy to optimize energy usage. Identify buildings that are not used at night, on weekends, or for long periods of time (such as during semester breaks), and adjust temperature settings in those locations. Also, check that HVAC systems are not set to overcool or overheat buildings. For facilities with regular occupancy schedules, but without a BAS, programmable thermostats can make temperature setbacks a reliable option.

Reduce large-space ventilation during low occupancy hours
For spaces that have large swings in occupancy (such as auditoriums, gyms, classrooms and cafeterias), energy can be saved by decreasing the amount of ventilation supplied by the HVAC system during low-occupancy hours. A demand-controlled ventilation system senses the level of carbon dioxide in the return air stream, uses it as an indicator of occupancy, and decreases supply air when carbon dioxide levels are low.

Inspect and maintain A/C economizers
Many air-conditioning systems (other than those in hot and humid climates) use a dampered vent called an economizer to reduce the need for mechanically cooled air by drawing cool outside air into the building. If the economizer isn’t regularly checked, the linkage on the damper can seize up or break. An economizer that’s stuck in the fully open position can add as much as 50% to a building’s annual energy bill by allowing hot air in during the air-conditioning season and cold air in during the heating season.

Maintain rooftop A/C units to maximize efficiency
On a quarterly basis (or after filters are changed), make sure the panels to your packaged rooftop air-conditioning unit are fully attached, with all screws in place and all gaskets intact so no air leaks out of the cabinet. Leaking chilled air can cost $100 per rooftop unit/year in wasted energy.

Use chillers according to load needs
Operators often run too many chillers for a given load. Every chiller has a range of loading conditions in which it operates most efficiently. Turn chillers off to keep the remaining units operating in their most efficient zones—typically above the 30% to 50% load mark.

Source for the above HVAC tips: Business Energy Advisor.



Follow a steam trap inspection and maintenance plan
Steam traps remove water from the steam distribution system once it has cooled and condensed in radiators or other heat exchangers. Mechanical steam traps can become stuck open, which wastes heat. A single failed trap can waste more than $50 per month, and universities can have thousands of steam traps on a campus.

Source for the above Steam tip: Business Energy Advisor.



Use daylight sensors to reduce lighting costs
In classrooms and administration buildings, take advantage of daylighting where possible to reduce the need for electric light and improve the ambience of the space. Dimming ballasts and daylighting controls can reduce the amount of electric light used when daylight is present. Solar light tubes can also often be a cost-effective retrofit. However, be careful to employ proper design when implementing daylighting in order to avoid glare and overheating.

Use occupancy sensors to turn unused lights off
Lights should be turned off when not in use, but many people forget to take this step. To ensure that switches are off when desired, two effective options are to install occupancy sensors or recruit staff to serve as “energy monitors” in each campus building. Energy conservation–themed posters and stickers placed strategically around campus can be effective reminders, especially when designed as part of a larger energy-awareness campaign.

Parking lot LED lighting
Parking lots are often overlit—an average of 1 foot-candle of light or less is usually sufficient. The most common lamps used for outdoor lighting are high-intensity discharge (HID) sources—metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium. In recent years, fluorescent lamps, CFLs, LEDs and induction lamps have also become viable sources for outdoor lighting that provide good color quality and better control options than HID sources.

Use exterior LED lighting
Using LEDs to light stadiums and sports arenas can yield large energy savings—roughly 75% over the commonly used Metal Haline (MH) lamps while also reducing maintenance costs via the bulbs’ longer lamp life and lower lumen depreciation rates. Unlike MH lamps, LEDs also offer instant-on and instant-restrike capabilities, which can be appealing to facility operators. The latest LED fixtures also provide light of sufficient quality for high-definition broadcasts. Although prices vary, LED fixtures can currently cost up to four times as much as MH fixtures, but the dramatic energy and maintenance savings can make them an economical measure with potential simple payback periods of just two to three years.

Source for the above Lighting tips: Business Energy Advisor.


Energy Efficiency

Implement energy-efficiency measures
By implementing cost-effective energy-efficiency measures, many colleges and universities have the potential to cut their energy bills by 30% or more.

Source for the above Energy Efficiency tip: Business Energy Advisor.