1. Using all classrooms/Coordinating use
I would like to look into the possibility of IES using all of their classrooms to the maximum efficiency. There are many classes offered at IES throughout the course of a day. There are often empty classrooms, especially towards the end of the day. Also, on Fridays, everyone only has one class, but I'm sure that class times could be consolidated to maximize the classroom's use and even reduce the total time the center is used. This would reduce energy costs and possibly cut down on the total time the center needs to be open.
Additionally, if classrooms are not going to be used for class while the center is open, they should be open for study use. But if they are just left open with lights on, obviously this detracts from the idea of saving energy. They could be used for group study rooms.
It could also help to decrease the amount of time allotted in between classes. Currently, students have fifteen minutes to get from one class in IES to the next class. This much time is really unnecessary since all of the classes are in one building. There should really only be five minutes in between each class. The time saved from making class breaks shorter could save IES an entire hour.
Other than reducing class time, which would be significantly more difficult to do, coordinating the use of classrooms would be much easier. Using all classrooms to their full capacity would have the potential to close the IES center earlier than 7pm (or start later than 9am) and therefore save energy. There are often empty classrooms that go unused during the day, when the rest of the center is occupied. Because everyone else is at the center, the lights and heat and everything else is turned on. Using this same classroom later is a waste of time and energy because it could have been used at the same time as the others to conserve energy while everyone was still there. This would reduce our energy costs and IES's ecological footprint.
To have the leftover classrooms available for group projects would productively use the IES facilities that were previously going to waste. Additionally, because all IES students lie in different places, it's difficult to do group projects together. This way, there is a specific space, with significant tools (whiteboard, computer, etc.), that students can access and reserve to work on their projects.
To put it into perspective:
- If IES has 60 standard fluorescent ballast 60-watt light bulbs, in use ten hours out of the day, five days of the week, then they are using 10,762kWh per year. That amounts to $2,088 on lighting each year.
- If IES has 20 computers, in use 8 hours out of the day, five days of the week, then they are using a total of 19219kWh per year. That amounts to $3,728 on computer use each year.
1.2.1. Potential Benefits
In the short term IES will benefit from reducing their energy costs, and it will only continue to be magnified over time. Even if it's not making a huge dent in energy costs, over time the cost benefit becomes very significant when amplified. Students will also be more concentrated at the center at the same time and make working on group projects easier, not to mention the intangible social benefits.
Opening up unused classrooms to be reserved by students would make it much easier for them to complete group projects (such as this action!). This would improve the quality of the work and make it simpler to meet to get work done. Also, this uses the IES resources to its most efficient. If the lights of a floor are going to be on and energy used, then the classrooms should be utilized so that the center can best serve its purpose as a place for learning and academia.
1.2.2. Potential Costs
It might cost IES staff a little bit to take the time to plan out next semester's classes with teacher availability/preferences, but it certainly wont cost any extra money to implement this. Human resources would be all that would be necessary. A few dedicated people to spend a little bit of time on it. I guess conceivably it's possible that some computer program might be used/needed to organize this, but I think it could be accomplished with a few people sitting down and figuring it out.
Someone may have to set up a way for people to sign up for the open classrooms, but there would be no external costs other than possibly a clipboard. In fact, if we want to make it the most sustainable, students would be able to sign up online for a time and a classroom. This way it would be kept the most up to date and everyone would have access to it.
I'm fairly sure that no work has been done on this topic before. I talked to Cesar this Tuesday and he said he was supportive of the idea. He is in charge of hiring teachers and making sure they can come to the center at a specific time for class. If he (or someone else) more thoroughly they might be able to figure out a schedule in which all of the IES classrooms were used at the same time instead of wasting energy and time.
He said it may be a bit difficult to implement immediately because he likes to have an hour of no class so that everyone, staff included, can go and get lunch somewhere. He also mentioned that he didn't know how feasible it would be to actually have all classrooms in use and shut down a floor (which would maximize energy savings). But if this is the case, and there are some classrooms left open, all that needs to be done to maximize them and get use from them is have people sign up for them to be worked in. If on moodle, on every student's page there was a way to reserve a room for group, or individual study, IES could better gauge the use of the classrooms. If they are not going to be used, then they will be shut down and closed with the lights off. If they are, fantastic, students can get work done together.
With a little more planning, both from IES administration, and a moodle page for students, maximizing the efficient use of classrooms is possible.
This site has the prices for energy consumption in Spain per kilo watt hour (kWh)
This site was used to calculate the cost of lighting and computer usage.
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