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End Waste, Start Saving

It’s no surprise that school energy bills are rising. Many factors contribute to the steady upward trend; extended school days require premises to be used for longer, old and inefficient buildings continue to be occupied as primary rolls increase in metropolitan areas, the proliferation of digital learning technologies creates increasing demand for power, and the rising costs of electricity and gas also play a part.

However, high energy bills are not something that schools simply have to accept. The Carbon Trust has identified that as much as 30% of the energy used in Britain’s schools is wasted. This is bad for the environment, bad for budgets and sets a bad example to pupils too.

The good news is that by making some simple changes to the behaviour of pupils and staff, you can reduce energy waste in your school and start saving up to 20% of your current energy costs. Here are three areas in which you can make a difference.

1.Heating

Most schools spend nearly half of their annual energy budget on heating, but then don’t monitor how its managed. Look at:

  • closing doors and windows when heating is on
  • turning heating down rather than opening a window when rooms get too hot
  • check that classrooms are heated to 18c – every 1% reduction in temperature can save up to 8% in heating costs, and cooler rooms can make children more productive too
  • check how long it takes your school building to warm up and cool down and adjust your heating accordingly so that its not starting too early or switching off too late.
2. Lighting
We all feel better working in natural daylight rather than artificial light, so make sure that you aren’t lighting areas in your school that don’t actually need it. It sounds obvious, but flicking the lights on can be as much a habit as a necessity. Especially when you consider that school lighting can account for nearly a quarter of your school’s total energy budget.  Also look at:
  • whether you are lighting rooms when they aren’t being used
  • switching from standard to energy saving bulbs
  • getting pupils and teachers in the habit of switching lights off when they leave a room, and checking that this has been done.
3. Electrical Equipment
Simply switching off electrical equipment will also make a difference. PC monitors account for nearly two thirds of a computer’s energy consumption. If permanently left on, a computer will cost £25 a year to run. Think about that for every computer in your school. It soon adds up. Get children and staff into the habit of switching computers, interactive whiteboards, and TVs and DVD players off instead of letting them default to stand by.
These are all simple commonsense measures. So simple in fact, that we don’t think about them on a regular basis. But you’ll reap the rewards if you do.

 

 

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