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Utility Conservation Programs

Spend Conservation Funds

Opportunities for Spending Utility Conservation Funds

All schools have received Utility Conservation Funds. This may have come from the Shared Utility Savings Program, Green Team Funding Support, Conservation Champion Award, or all three. This money can increase resource savings and enhance learning experiences.

Please use your funds within one year of receipt. Budgets have shrunk, but you can show program support by beneficial use of awarded funds.

Before making a purchase, please check with your school secretary or fiscal clerk for spending guidelines. Utility Conservation funding can be found in supply reserve line 5990, fund -1000, fund center __X7927425.

Here are spending suggestions from your Resource Conservation Specialists:

  • Compact Infrared Thermometer With Laser Targeting $44.99 each. Use to measure temperatures.
  • Insulated lunch bags, $1.99 each. Use to pack lunches that do not require additional refrigeration.
  • Shipping Scale with remote display, $37.04 each. Use to weigh waste/compost/recycling
  • Kill-a-Watt EZ Meter, assess the efficiency of your appliances. $28.97 each. Use to measure energy use of individual items throughout the school to help calculate energy use and savings potential.
  • Digital Light Level Meter, $77.38 each. Use to measure light levels and ensure that they are not too high or low based on Department of Health guidelines.

Weather Stripping

Work with your Custodial Engineer and Principal to identify gaps in door and window seals. If you can see outside through the seal then it’s a great candidate for weather stripping. Submit a work order to District Maintenance to estimate the cost to weather strip leaky doors and/or windows.

When the cost comes back, determine whether you want to move forward with the project and accept or reject the estimate. If you accept, we recommend noting “not to exceed $____” (based on your available budget).

Draft-Dodger Snake

Make draft-dodger snakes to place on leaky windowsills. This fun project will save energy and increase comfort. Choose school colors to boost school pride. There are lots of examples of homemade draft-dodger snakes online.

Energy Audit Tool Bag

Build an energy audit tool bag to support your Washington Green Schools Energy Efficiency Assessment. Some handy items are an infrared thermometer to check if room temperatures meet District standards, a light meter to check for over-lit areas, and Kill A Watt meters to measure energy use of anything that plugs in. This is great real-world data that students can gather themselves and use in the classroom.

Reusable and Compostable Silverware

Purchase reusable silverware and trays for use in the cafeteria (if Nutrition Services staff agree). Purchase reusable silverware, plates, bowls, and mugs for use in the staff lounge. Purchase compostable silverware, plates, bowls, and cups for parties and events from the District Warehouse through B2B Marketplace.

Milk Dispenser

Purchase a milk dispenser and reusable cups, with approval from Nutrition Services kitchen staff. Things to consider are washing facilities, staff time, storage, replacement rate of cups, impacts to school waste, and so on.

Reusable Lunch Bags

Buy staff and/or students reusable lunch bags. There are lots of varieties available, from a simple canvas bag to an insulated ice-pack bag with school logos.

Weigh Food Waste

Purchase a luggage scale to weigh lunch room waste. Encourage students to reduce the amount of food waste ending up in the compost. Start a Share Table. Have a Waste-free Lunch Day encouraging students to eat their food.

Upgrade Recycling Containers

If your school is still using old metal buckets or paper boxes to sort your recycling then it’s time to upgrade to the standard blue recycling containers. These reduce confusion for students and custodial staff and have been proven to increase recycling. New containers can be ordered through the District B2B Marketplace Warehouse Materials Catalog. Order container #631871 for classrooms and #639457 for offices. Put old metal recycle buckets into the recycling dumpster. To reduce contamination, keep the total number of containers to a minimum and always pair recycling with garbage. Visit our Compost and Recycling page for more information.

Rain Barrels

Buy and install a rain barrel or cistern for your school garden. Pre-approval through the District’s Self Help program is required. Rain barrel water is great for most plants but edible plants should still get potable water.

Low-Water Use Fixtures

Perform a water audit such as the Washington Green Schools Water Quality & Conservation Assessment. If you find that hand-washing or kitchen sinks (in classrooms or staff rooms) use over 0.5 gallons per minute or toilets use over 1.6 gallons per flush then your school would be a good candidate for installing low-water use fixtures. Submit a work order to District Maintenance to estimate the cost to install aerators or new toilets. When the cost comes back, determine whether you want to move forward with the project and accept or reject the estimate. If you accept, we recommend noting “not to exceed $____” (based on your available budget).

Adjust Automatic Taps

Identify automatic or push-button water taps that are running for more than 10 seconds. If they exceed 10 seconds then submit a work order to District Maintenance to have them adjusted. Ask for an estimate to adjust the fixtures. When the cost comes back, determine whether you want to move forward with the project and accept or reject the estimate. If you accept, we recommend noting “not to exceed $___” (based on your available budget).

Field Trip: Land and Water Field Study

Fund field trips or scholarships to The Land and Water Field Study, a program of IslandWood that is designed in collaboration with Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Public Utilities, and Seattle Parks and Recreation. It connects the District’s 5th grade Land and Water Science Unit to a real-life urban stream in schools’ communities.

Field Trip: Cedar River Salmon Journey

Fund field trips or scholarships to Cedar River Salmon Journey at the Seattle Aquarium. The Aquarium has programs for pre-K through 12th grade.

Field Trip: Pacific Science Center

Fund field trips or scholarships to the Pacific Science Center. The Science Center has programs for pre-K through 12th grade. Financial assistance and school bus transportation assistance is available for Seattle Public Schools.