Conservation Guidelines

Standard Practice Energy Conservation Guidelines

In support of Boise School District Policy #9330, the following guidelines are set forth to establish standard practices to optimize the learning and working environment as well as to avoid unnecessary utility expenditures. The District's Facilities and Operations Department is committed to continuing to improve the efficiency of all systems.

It is important that these energy guidelines be observed for the operation of lighting and cooling/heating equipment. The building principal is responsible for the total energy usage of his/her building. While in the classroom the teacher is responsible for implementing the guidelines over which he/she has control. The principal will be provided information reflecting the energy consumption for his/her building on a regular basis. Energy reports are to be shared with the building staff.

Specific items for emphasis include:

  • Every student and employee will be expected to contribute to energy efficiency in the District. Every person is expected to be an "energy saver" as well as an "energy consumer."
  • Lighting in unoccupied areas will be turned off. Safety lighting will be held to the minimum level necessary for safe passage. All lights will be turned off when students and teachers leave school. Custodians will turn on lights only in the immediate area in which they are working.
  • Summer time air conditioning will be used only in occupied office areas or in schools where the extended year calendar is in effect or where summer school is in session.
  • Head custodians or their designees at each school will be responsible for a complete shutdown of the facility when closed each evening, weekend and vacation period. A checklist of items to consider has been provided.
  • A school closure of four or more days will be viewed as an "energy conservation opportunity." Principals and custodians will be responsible for a more extensive school shutdown. A checklist of items to consider will be available.


Utility costs and consumption are constantly tabulated, reviewed and monitored.
Thank you for making every utility dollar spent an investment in education.

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Guidelines for Operation of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditions (HVAC) Systems

  • General Guidelines
    • HVAC systems should be operated in the most economical way possible and only for the minimum of times required to provide climate for a specific activity.
    • Custodians should monitor the weather and make adjustment of the HVAC control system time clocks to compensate for changes in the weather; i.e., boilers and fans should start later when weather is warmer and earlier when weather is cold and windy. This adjustment is not required in buildings that have automatic optimization time control systems. However, building custodians must periodically check the automatic controls to make sure the equipment is working correctly.
    • When the temperature is expected to change significantly over a weekend, HVAC systems should be adjusted to provide proper temperatures on Monday morning. This adjustment is not required in buildings that have automatic optimization time control systems.
    • Every opportunity to decrease HVAC system operating times should be considered by the custodian and principal. These may include early dismissal; cancelled school, inclement weather days, in-service days, holidays and cancelled games and activities.
    • If below freezing weather is predicted or occurs over a weekend, holiday or vacation period, the principal and head custodian are responsible to verify that adequate minimal night low limit heating is being maintained to protect the building and contents. Normally this is accomplished automatically; however, systems are not always totally reliable. It is better to spend a few minutes checking than many hours or days repairing.
    • Personnel in classrooms/schools not having a night set-back system should turn OFF their heating system manually when school is dismissed provided the night temperature is to be above freezing (32ºF). The heating system can be restarted the following workday upon arrival of the head custodian.
  • School Days
    • On regular school days, the HVAC system times are set to provide the following temperatures from the time of teaching staff occupancy to the time of last class dismissal in the majority of classrooms in the buildings. Temperatures are measured five feet above floor level on either the wall opposite the heating unit or in the center of the room.
    •   Not to Exceed
      Classrooms 71º
      Libraries 71º
      Offices 71º
      Gymnasiums & Locker Rooms 65º
      School Shops 68º
      Halls 62º
      Kitchens & Cafeterias 65º
      Facilities & Operations Shops/Warehouse 62º
      Acceptable temperature deviation from set point is plus or minus 2ºF
    • Air-conditioned spaces shall be cooled to no less than 78ºF.
    • When officially sponsored school activities occur on school days, the space(s) occupied by the activity may be provided with heat and/or ventilation for the duration of the activity according to the standards in (a) above.
    • After class or activity hours, all areas should be set back to a low limit not to exceed 60ºF.
    • Safety regulations prohibit the use of portable electric space heaters. Therefore, these appliances are not authorized for use.
    • Window blinds/drapes/shades are to be closed at the end of each day to provide a buffer from exterior temperatures.
  • School Vacation Days and Saturdays
    • On workdays when school is not in session, the entire building shall be operated on a target night low limit not to exceed 60ºF.
    • If offices are occupied by regularly assigned staff, zoning shall be used in lieu of operating the central heat plant where possible. Maximum thermostat settings for zoned areas and/or space-heated areas shall be the same as school day operation.
    • Normal heat and ventilation may be provided for scheduled activities and athletic events, but not for informal or "pick up" practices. If possible, only the area of the activity should be heated and ventilated, and temperature maximums shall be the same as in section B (a).
    • All other energy uses must be approved in advance by the building principal/site manager.
    • Relocatable buildings with baseboard heating take longer to reheat to an acceptable comfort level - anticipate an eight hour warm up period on cold days.
  • Holidays and Sundays
    • Those schools not having a set back system are to be turned OFF if expected low temperatures are to be above freezing (32ºF).
    • On holidays and Sundays, the entire building shall be operated on a target night low limit setting not to exceed 60ºF.
    • All other energy uses must be approved in advance by the appropriate Area Director or HVAC Shop Foreman.


Guidelines for Operation of Lighting Equipment

  • School Days
    • Where possible, we are all encouraged to take full advantage of natural light. When adequate illumination is available from sunlight, consider leaving artificial lights OFF.
    • Teachers should make certain that lights are turned off whenever classrooms are left unoccupied.
    • Lights in all gymnasiums should not be left on unless the gym is being utilized. High intensity discharge lighting (HID) will be considered on a per school basis.
    • All outside lights should be turned off during daylight hours.
    • Night custodians should turn lights on only in the specific area in which they are working.
    • Timers for security and parking lot lights are to be reset to correlate with daylight hours.
  • Weekends, Holidays and Extended Vacations
    • Head custodians at each school will be responsible for a complete and total shut down of the facility. A checklist of items to consider will be available.
    • These days provide an optimum opportunity for energy savings.


Guidelines for Electrical Use

  • All electrical equipment such as computers, copy machines, coffeepots, laser printers, scanners, monitors, televisions, VCRs will be turned off at the end of workday.
  • When not in use, computer monitors and computers are to be turned off.
  • All refrigerators and freezers are to cleaned out, propped open and unplugged during the summer break.
  • Vending machines, exhaust fans, appropriate circulating pumps and other electrical equipment will be off during vacation times.
  • Food & Nutrition Services will control the shutdown of all kitchen refrigeration.
  • Kilns, self-cleaning ovens and any other high-energy use items should only be activated between 2:00 PM and 5:00 AM.


Guidelines for Operation of Domestic Hot Water Heaters

  • School Days
    • Thermostats for hot water heaters will be set not to exceed 120ºF.
    • Thermostats for hot water heaters that service kitchens will be set not to exceed 120ºF.
    • Thermostats for rinse cycle hot water boosters will be set at 180ºF.
    • Dishwasher hot water boosters shall be operated only when the dishwasher is in service.
  • Weekends and School Vacation Days
    • Circulating pumps shall be turned off to domestic hot water heaters.


Guidelines for Solid Waste and Recycling

  • Each school is expected to make recycling a priority in order to reduce the amount of solid waste entering our landfill.
  • The custodial staff will monitor the quantity in the dumpster. Dumpster size and frequency of pick-ups will be adjusted according to need.
  • Garbage service will be discontinued and "On Call Only" during student vacations of one week or longer.
  • All students and staff should follow the "3 R's": Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.


Last Updated: 4/8/14