May 02 2023

Save Your Energy When Choosing Displays for Education

Adopting energy-efficient, remotely managed interactive and digital signage can help ease financial pressures while enhancing smarter and more sustainable learning.

In the current education climate, every penny counts, and every investment is scrutinized. Beyond that, a poor buying decision could have a detrimental impact on performance for educators and students, which could harm their prospects.

As an IT leader, you already know the various considerations you should take into account when selecting and buying visual displays, depending how and where they will be used and by whom.

Is the screen big enough to be seen clearly from the back of the learning space? Is the pixel pitch sufficient for viewing the screen up close? Is the bezel narrow enough to allow for multidisplay installations?

All of these are fundamental considerations for creating the desired teaching, learning and communications experience. K–12 leaders are tasked with making the right purchasing decisions, whether for just a handful of displays or for hundreds. However, they also need to consider how the market and options have changed.

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Don’t Let Rising Energy Costs Impact Your School Budget

A growing focus on sustainability coupled with the escalating pressure from rising utility costs make the energy efficiency of displays and the running costs associated with them increasingly crucial factors. Managing costs with an eye on the return on investment have never been more important.

At the same time, the need for and reliance on these displays have not changed. Whether they are being used in a creative and eye-catching videowall, for digital signage or as interactive displays in classrooms, displays are now standard equipment, and schools are not moving away from implementing them. Going backward is not an option.

To reduce the financial burden, IT professionals must take a more strategic approach when evaluating this technology.

EXPLORE: How can K–12 IT teams manage all stages of the device lifecycle?

Focus on Products’ Efficiency When Selecting New Display Tech

IT decision-makers should first understand the energy efficiency of the product itself. In the U.S., the ENERGY STAR program denotes highly energy-efficient products. European products, meanwhile, feature an A-G measurement rating — with A being the best — allowing manufacturers to differentiate their offerings more power-saving products.

Reducing the use of older, less efficient equipment is worth considering for the long-term. It is estimated that the nation’s school districts spend $6 billion annually on energy, according to an ENERGY STAR report. “School districts can and have used the savings from improved energy performance to help pay for building improvements and other upgrades that enhance the learning environment,” the report notes.

$1.6 million

The amount saved by Freedom High School in Woodbridge, Va., over 10 years thanks to energy management programs and initiatives

Source: U.S. Department of Education, "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools: Highlights from the 2023 Honorees," April 2023

Power Down Displays When School Is Not in Session

It is also good to remember that if nobody is looking at a display, it may be beneficial to switch it off or power it down. This is easier said than done, of course — or is it?

Many modern displays have remote management capabilities, through either built-in or compatible software. Remote management platforms can help IT admins power down one, some or all displays at the touch of a button. This helps schools save not only on energy consumption but also on their IT teams’ time.

Whether displays are used as direct-view LED screens, digital signage, interactive touch screens or professional displays, many also feature “smart power” features, which adjusts automatically based on use. Alternatively, these can be managed manually, down to the smallest detail. This includes switching the displays off at specific hours and reducing brightness depending on the time of day. The savings resulting from these changes could be substantial; standing still is a costly exercise.

These solutions can also extend the lives of displays, resulting in lower maintenance costs and a less frequent need to invest in replacements.

DISCOVER: How K–12 schools are using mixed and virtual reality for career exploration.

Remember to Consider the Learning Environment’s Needs

Finally, it is important to choose the right technology. Does the learning environment benefit from 4K, or should you consider LED or LCD options instead?

Direct view LED displays will, in many instances, consume less energy than their LCD counterparts. So, replacing old LCD screens with dvLED displays could be an immediate cost saver for energy consumption. The LED display is also more modular, which allows IT professionals to partially replace faulty sections, helping to make its lifespan longer.

Remember to base buying decisions on what the display will be used for. It can be easy to invest in displays that are designed — and priced — to offer far greater capabilities than your school requires. IT leaders must make carefully considered decisions, not just opt for the newest and shiniest display tech on the market.

When you see stunning videos on the displays on a showroom floor or at an exhibitor’s booth, take time to dive below the surface and check out the details on energy efficiency — you’d be amazed to learn how much you can save.

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