Saving Money while Getting Greener


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Tips To Create Energy
Efficient, Healthier
Nonprofit Facilities

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Saving Money while Getting Greener

  1. 1. ® ®Saving Money WhileGetting GreenerTips To Create EnergyEfficient, HealthierNonprofit FacilitiesA project of NFF’s Child Care
  2. 2. With simple changes, we can save both energy and money.This guide is a project of Nonprofit Finance Fund NFF’s Child Care Initiative is dedicated to helping child carePhiladelphia’s Child Care Initiative. The Initiative providers create healthy, sustainable facilities. We workis dedicated to providing capital, capacity-building closely with nonprofit child care centers and afterschoolservices, and technical assistance to nonprofit, programs to ensure that facilities are as healthy for thecenter-based child care and out-of-school time (OST) bottom line as they are for the children they serve. Inservice providers seeking to improve the quality this guide, you’ll find energy saving tips for nonprofitof programs and facilities. It is a vital resource in organizations, with an emphasis on saving money on utilities,building a sustainable child care system that willprovide southeastern Pennsylvania’s children with maintaining safe and healthy indoor spaces, and movingaccess to high-quality early learning environments. towards a more environmentally conscious approach to facility management. We encourage you to consider ways toNFF Greater Philadelphia become more energy efficient and reduce your organization’s environmental footprint! Organizational Mission and SustainabilityThis resource has been developed with major From lighting, to temperature control, to communication,contributions from the following individuals: Karyntha our way of life is dependent on energy resources. YetCadogan; Elizabeth McClearn; Teresa Mendez- many of us use more energy than we actually need. AQuigley, Women’s Health and Environmental Network;David Nicholls, Nicholls Design and Construction; well-managed, energy efficient facility with a reasonableJeanne Scanlon, Sustainable Communities cost structure can improve the sustainability of yourConsultant; David Secan, The H Trust; Catharine organization. And it can actually help you better fulfill yourSwan, GREEN and SAVE LLC; and Bill Thomas, mission. Here are just a few ways:Women’s Community Revitalization Project. Energy efficient facilities can help you reduce ongoingSources for this guide include:; dpw.state. operational expenses, allowing you to set savings aside for;;;; e-stewards. building reserve;;;; They’re safer and more comfortable for staff, children,;; phillywatershed. families. Healthy product choices and practices reduce conditionsorg/rainbarrel; and under which allergies, disease, and behavioral problems flourish. Revenue losses due to illness can be reduced. They can improve a child’s ability to learn and thrive. Healthy children are vibrant, happy, resilient, and likely to focus, learn, and perform at higher levels. As they grow, preparedness improves and success becomes self-sustaining for them – and your center. They help the whole community become healthier. Efficiencies reduce the load on local utilities. Unburdening those resources cuts down on harmful toxins in the environment, improving air and water quality in the community.
  3. 3. Heating andCoolingMost days, your facility requires either heat orair-conditioning. Tiny cracks and openings in Added Benefityour building’s “envelope” (roof, foundation, Sealing cracks and holes in your building’s envelope can alsowalls, windows, and doors) let energy escape. prevent pests from entering!Tightening your building’s envelope is thenumber one way to decrease energy waste and Preserve Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality In many older buildings, fresh air seeps in through cracks,help you cut costs. ill-fitting windows and doors, etc. As air seepage is corrected, indoor air quality may be reduced. It is important to introduce fresh air into your facility to dilute indoorCaulk and insulate around windows, doors, pipes, pollutants. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventionconduits, exterior joints, and other areas where there are ( recommends 12 air changes per hour. Ifcracks or holes. you tighten your building’s envelope, you should consult anInstall weather stripping and door sweeps, which are vinyl HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning) contractorstrips used to create a weatherproof seal at the bottom of to make sure your building gets fresh air regularly.your door.Remove or cover window A/C units during cooler months. How to Handle Old ThermostatsInsulate the roof, attic, foundation and crawl space after Old thermostats often have mercury and must be recycled tosealing out drafts and moisture. prevent leakage into the environment, where it can directly impact children’s health and brain development.Install self-closing doors so your heat and A/C stay inside.Install vestibule doors at major entrances.Install adjustable outdoor shading devices (e.g., awnings).Plant deciduous trees, which drop their leaves in autumn, onthe south side of building to provide shade during summer. Install tamper-proof locking covers on thermostats so thatSelect trees native to the area, as they require less watering people do not adjust the temperature spontaneously.once they are established. Change or clean HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air-Replace single pane windows with new low-e glass (argon Conditioning) filters monthly during peak cooling or heatinggas-filled) double pane windows, which reduce heat loss season. Dirty filters will force the equipment to work harder,while admitting solar heat gain. taking a toll on its useful life expectancy while also driving up monthly energy costs.Add reflective or heat absorbing film to windows to minimizesolar heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. Purchase an annual maintenance contract for the HVAC system to save energy and money. Maintenance ensures thatInstall programmable thermostats for your heat and A/C— the system will last years longer and reduces the likelihoodthis can be a big money saver! To keep staff comfortable, of costly emergency repairs.have the heat or A/C come on an hour before staff arrive.
  4. 4. Water LightAs access to clean water becomes an Lighting accounts for 20-38% of utilility costs.increasingly relevant global concern, we can all These tips will help you use less electricity fordo our part to support water conservation and light. With a few simple changes, you can saveminimize associated energy costs at the same money while still having a bright and sunnytime. Here are some tips to get started. facility.Seal and insulate interior ductwork, hot water pipes, and hot Paint ceilings bright white (not high-gloss, which may causewater heaters. glare) and walls light colors to increase reflection. Using lightLower thermostat on hot water heaters to a temperature colors allows you to turn on fewer lights and makes roomssuitable for hand washing without needing to mix in cold appear more spacious.water. For example, in child care facilities, most hot water Replace all incandescent bulbs with LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)heaters are set to 140˚. The PA Department of Public Welfare over time, with the highest priority given to lights that are on 12(DPW) recommends 120˚, which can prevent burns and save hours or more, such as stairwell and exterior lights. Due to themoney. DPW regulations require a relatively low temperature; higher initial cost of LEDs, Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) canconsult appropriate codes and regulations for permissible be used as an interim solution for interior lighting.water temperatures for sanitation purposes, such as operating Replace T12 (1.5” diameter, 45w) and T8 (1” diameter, 32w)dishwashers. It might save money to have separate water lights with LED tubes. Savings can be up to 68% with aheaters for hand washing and dishwashers. return on investment of less than two years.Install automated, hands-free faucets and soap dispensers. Remove two bulbs and the ballasts (starters) from existingInstall low flow toilets and faucets. light fixtures in areas that do not need as much light. Install polished reflectors in fluorescent ceiling fixtures to increase the amount of light bounced down into the room.Managing Rain Barrels Control lighting with photoelectric or time-clock controls.Collecting water in rain barrels reduces the amount of Install ENERGY STAR products and LEDs for exit signs.water that runs off your roof and enters city treatment Install light motion sensors throughout the building,facilities. This collected water can be used for gardens or particularly in rooms that are infrequently used (restrooms,playgrounds. If you have a rain barrel, make sure to empty storage closets, staff lunch rooms). Occupancy sensors willit before freezing temperatures set in to avoid splitting. yield anywhere from 20% to 60% in savings!During warm weather, control mosquitoes by dropping in Install an automated energy management system thatmosquito dunks that kill the larvae but are safe for people, will control the lighting levels throughout the building inplants and animals. Learn about Philadelphia’s rain barrel accordance with usage.program at Itlists workshops and provides installation guidelines. More on LED LightingCaution on Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) LEDs typically use up to 80% less energy than incandescentOld, eco-friendly and compact fluorescent lamps all contain bulbs and last 10-60 times longer than CFLs. Specialized lightingmercury. By law, they must be recycled. To find out how to companies offer free audits and a strategy for bulb replacementrecycle properly, visit that can fit your budget. 1 Conventional 1 LED bulb light bulb Retail Cost $2.00 $39.00 Electricity Used 60 watts 5 watts How Long it Lasts 20,000 hours 80,000 hours
  5. 5. Green CleanStanding water and moisture indoors can often ensure that the cleaned area is dried quickly.lead to mold. While it’s impossible to eliminate all In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, domold spores, high amounts can be dangerous— not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains or sinks).particularly for children with asthma or allergies.Here are some ways to maintain a clean Green the Way You Cleanenvironment without resorting to harsh chemicals Children’s bodies and brains are still developing and areand cleansers. vulnerable to pollutants that may not affect adults in the same way. Currently, there are no federal standards for indoor air pollutants and existing research is based on adultMold body weight.The only way to control indoor mold is to control moisture.Moisture and mold problems in school settings, including By using environmentally-friendly ingredients, you nottrailers and portable classrooms, are often associated with only protect the health of your students and staff, but alsodelayed or insufficient maintenance. Take preventative preserve the environment. Review the list of ingredients ofsteps by inspecting frequently for any suspected mold current cleaning products. Phase out cleaning products thatgrowth while diligently controlling moisture levels. Foradditional information, download the publication “MoldRemediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings” from Before You Check for condensation to avoid mold growthProvide adequate ventilation to maintain indoor humidity Good To Know...levels between 30-60%. One in every three cleaning chemicals used in schools causesUse exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and environmental or health problems!cleaning in food service areas. Protect Indoor Air QualityControl humidity levels and dampness by using air- If you’re painting, use no-VOC paint to reduce off-gassing.conditioners and dehumidifiers. Also, when insulating, avoid spray foam that contains highReduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., VOCs, which will off-gas for a long time. Off-gassing VOCswindows, piping, exterior walls, roof or floors) by adding can impact health for years after the smell goes awayinsulation. and are especially harmful to those with asthma and/or aInstall storm windows and caulk around windows to keep compromised immune system.the interior glass warmer and reduce condensation ofmoisture that can lead to mold growth.Locate and remediate water stains or discoloration on theceiling, walls, floors and window sills. are harmful to people’s health. Replace with effective andLook around and under sinks for standing water, water cost-comparable environmentally-friendly cleaning products.stains or mold, which require immediate attention. In choosing new products, look for phrases such asInspect bathrooms for standing water, water stains or mold. “non-toxic,” “fragrance-free,” “biodegradable,” “chlorineDo not let water stand in air-conditioning or refrigerator drip free,” and “free of artificial colors.” You can find a list ofpans. pre-certified product names and manufacturers at www.Check the mechanical room and roof for unsanitary Baking soda and vinegar often makeconditions, leaks or spills. great, cheap, green cleaning products. Try to use themWhen cleaning spots and stains on the carpet, prevent whenever you can.excess moisture or cleaning residue accumulation and
  6. 6. Electronicsand MachinesFrom computers, to printers, to microwaves, Purchase green computers, TVs and other electronicmachines are an integral part of our educational, equipment. The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) offers a way to evaluate, comparework, and home environments. These tips will help and select electronic products based on their environmentalyou save money and resources in your facility. attributes. Visit for details. Recycle or donate electronics to keep them out of the landfill and recover valuable components for making new computers.Turn off computers. A computer left on after working Visit to find a responsible recyclerhours can cost $100 a year. When not in use, turn who has been qualified as upholding the highest standard ofmonitors off. environmental and social responsibility.Use ENERGY STAR appliances, which are rated forenergy savings. Go to for moreinformation. According to the United States Environmental Are You Eligible for ACT 129 Rebates?Protection Agency (EPA), ENERGY STAR kitchen and Installing some energy saving appliances makescommercial food service equipment only use about half as nonprofits in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomerymuch energy as conventional models. This can add up to and Philadelphia Counties eligible for certain credits andsavings of as much as $140/year for refrigerators; $100/ rebates. (Please visit for theyear for freezers; $280/year for hot food holding cabinets; latest information, restrictions, and eligibility):and $450-$820/year for steam cookers. Install a high-efficiency natural gas furnace or boiler and receive a $300 rebate (provided funding is available).ENERGY STAR Participate in the “Smart A/C Saver” program and receiveENERGY STAR, a U.S. government program, now rates office up to $120 in PECO bill credits per year. Technicians willequipment such as faxes, printers and computers. Consider install programmable thermostats throughout your center.ENERGY STAR rated office equipment when replacing old Monetary incentives are available for equipmentequipment. In some cases, rebates from suppliers of ENERGY upgrades and improvements that include HVAC, lighting,STAR equipment are available. refrigeration and food services.
  7. 7. Big Picture,Big ProjectsOur way of managing resources and consideringthe environment is changing. Over time, more Possible Rebates and Loansgovernment funding may become available for $ Financing resources for energy saving measures maymajor energy saving improvements. also be available through your local utility company. For example, in the greater Philadelphia region, PECO’s Smart Ideas program offers rebates for solar installations andCool roofs energy efficient retrofits.These roofs are coated with a white or light-colored material sothat they reflect heat. This saves on A/C costs and helps the roof In addition, the Greenworks Loan Fund administered bylast longer. (To learn more, see www.consumerenergycenter. Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation providesorg/coolroof or low-interest loans to support energy efficient building retrofits, energy efficient machinery and equipmentGreen roofs purchases; building-sited renewable energy systems, andA green roof uses plants to insulate against heat and cold. energy efficient building practices in new constructionGreen roofs save on heating/cooling costs, can double the projects. Visit for more of your roof, and reduce storm water run-off. (See They are also a great excuse to start agarden on your roof, which can provide environmentallyfriendly vegetables and herbs year round. Gardening could Light shelvesalso be a great activity to do with both children and adults Install light shelves near tops of windows. A light shelf is ayour nonprofit serves. reflective panel, usually installed both inside and outside a window, which directs light onto the ceiling. It can almostSolar water heaters double the amount of light coming from a window and reduceInstall a solar water heater to assist in meeting your the need for electric lights.building’s hot water demand. PhotovoltaicsGround source (geothermal) heat pumps Solar cells, currently in the form of either roof panels or free-Geothermal pumps draw energy from below ground— standing arrays, convert sunlight into electricity. They offerwhere stable temperatures are higher than air temperature an environmentally important alternative to coal-generatedin the winter and lower in the summer— and send the electricity. Although the technology is improving rapidly, it’searth-warmed or -cooled air into a building. still rather expensive and imperfect. Therefore, it is extremely important to find a reputable installer.Although the earth’s temperature may vary depending onthe geographic location, using heat pumps will likely make Solar tubesyour facility at least 20 degrees more moderate, either Install solar tubes in appropriate places on the roof tocooler or warmer, than air temperature for that location. increase access to daylight and decrease the need forThis reduces the amount of fossil fuels you would need to electric lighting. Such highly reflective tubes may bemanage indoor temperatures. (For more information, visit installed with manual shades to reduce excess sun duringthe International Ground Source Heat Pump Association: key periods (e.g. naptimes)
  8. 8. ® Northeast Mid-Atlantic New York Region and New Jersey National Headquarters 59 Lincoln Park, Suite 350 70 West 36th Street, 11th Floor Newark, NJ 07102 New York, NY 10018 973 642 2500 212 868 6710 Greater Philadelphia New England 1608 Walnut Street, Suite 703 89 South Street, Suite 402 Philadelphia, PA 19103 Boston, MA 02111 215 546 9426 617 204 9772 DC-MD-VA West Coast 1801 K Street, NW, Suite M-100 Washington, DC 20006 San Francisco 202 778 1192 28 Second Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 415 255 4849 Midwest Detroit Los Angeles 645 Griswold Street, Suite 2202 626 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 510 Detroit, MI 48226 Los Angeles, CA 90017 313 965 9145 213 623 7001 ® About Nonprofit Finance Fund As one of the nation’s leading community development financial institutions (CDFI), Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) makes millions of dollars in loans to nonprofits and pushes for fundamental improvement in how money is given and used in the sector. Since 1980, we’ve worked to connect money to mission effectively so that nonprofits can keep doing what they do so well. We provide a continuum of financing, consulting, and advocacy services to nonprofits and funders nationwide. Our services are designed to help great organizations stay in balance, so that they’re able to successfully adapt to changing financial circumstances—in both good and bad economic times—andSpecial thanks to Ridge and Valley Charter School grow and innovate when they’re ready. In addition to loans andand photographer Chasi Annexy for all photos in this lines of credit for a variety of purposes, we organize financialbooklet. Ridge and Valley, an NFF client, is a New training workshops, perform business analyses, and customizeJersey-based, tuition-free public elementary school our services to meet the financial needs of each client. Forfor children ages K-8. The school is dedicated to funders, we provide support with structuring of philanthropicEarth literacy, sustainability, experiential outdoor capital and program-related investments, manage capital foreducation and child-centered learning. guided investment in programs, and provide advice and research ®© 2010, Nonprofit Finance Fund to help maximize the impact of grants.