Abstract

Buildings are one of the largest energy consumers in the United States. K-12 schools are responsible for nearly 8% of energy consumption by commercial buildings which is equivalent to 1.44% of total annual energy consumption in the country. Understanding the baseline energy consumption of the schools as well as identifying effective energy efficiency measures (EEMs) that result in significant energy savings without compromising occupant’s comfort in a given climate condition are essential factors in moving towards a sustainable future. In a collaboration between Florida Institute of Technology and Brevard Public Schools, three schools are identified for a test study in Melbourne, FL, representing the humid subtropical climate. Energy audit is conducted for these schools and monthly utility bill data as well as background information, end-user’s data and their associated operating schedules are obtained. A detailed analysis is performed on the utility bill data and energy consumption by each end-user is estimated. Several EEMs are considered and evaluated to achieve an improved energy efficiency for the schools. The implementation cost of each EEM and the associated simple payback period is also determined. A study is also conducted to explore possibility of using solar power to cover 50% of energy requirements of each school and the cost and payback period of the project are evaluated. The results of this paper provide insights regarding prioritizing energy efficiency projects in K-12 schools in humid subtropical climates and particularly the state of Florida and help with decision making regarding investment in on-site power generation using solar energy.

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