Are you a school or academy constantly under funding pressures? Many of you are being forced to make cuts that leave your school suffering and trying to make the most of the resources you have. Imagine if you could relieve some of the financial pressure by saving money through your energy... This blog tells you how!
Energy in schools…
This chart is from the carbon trust and shows the biggest areas of energy usage and cost in schools. As you can see by the pie chart, heating takes up the highest percentage of energy used and nearly half of the cost. Looking at the charts can help you decide what areas you want to target. It’s common for schools to want to target heating and lighting first and then move on to other areas.
Stage 1: Create an energy plan….
For any schools starting on their energy efficiency journey, we’d firstly recommend creating an energy plan. This provides structure to any energy efficiency projects you may propose. The Carbon trust have a really useful excel spreadsheet: www.carbontrust.com/resources/tools/energy-management-self-assessment-tool. It breaks down all the key areas you need to consider, such as staff engagement, monitoring and analysing energy use, communications and strategy. This spreadsheet will produce an output which shows where your school is currently at and what areas you can improve.
Stage 2: conduct an energy survey…
Once you’ve conducted an energy plan, we recommend a walk-through survey. This involves walking around the building, engaging with both employees and students and identifying any potential energy efficiencies first hand. Look at appliances and see how effective they are. Look for drafts and fabrication issues. Then if you conduct a staff survey, you’ll be able to highlight more issues and prioritise tasks. For example, if there’s a heating inefficiency, then for staff well-being you could address this before you address the lighting.
Stage 3: analysis of data…
We next recommend accessing online portals to track your energy usage. The portals hold all your data throughout the year, so you’ll be able to see annual usage and seasonal peaks and lows. Abnormal peaks will be highlighted and can help identify issues. If you’re a YPO customer, you can access the portals here;
If you’re not a YPO customer, speak to your current supplier and they may have something similar to offer.
Stage 4: Completion of audit…
Once you’ve completed your surveys and analysed data – what you could do is contact an energy consultant, who can provide an in-depth, technical audit. An audit could include; analysis of energy consuming equipment, analysis of energy contracts and assessment of site information with number of occupants and periods of occupancy. Consultants will know who to benchmark against and what a school your size should be consuming. We have an energy consultancy framework that you may be able to utilise if you’re unsure who to approach. All consultants on the framework have passed certain requirements to be able to provide their service.
Stage 5: Identify potential savings…
When identifying options for reducing energy costs, lighting and heating are the first steps for many establishments. We have found two main areas people find reductions from are heating controls and LED lighting upgrades.
The carbon trust states “on average 30-40% of an organisations electricity costs come from lighting. Energy efficient lighting measures can reduce these costs between 65% and 85%.”
“Heating and hot water can account for as much as 60% of your total energy costs, and because it’s possible to reduce your heating costs by up to a third, the potential savings are substantial.” There are some real quick wins for schools!
Stage 6: Implement, monitor and target
The final stage, once you’ve decided what areas you want to target with energy efficiency, is to communicate your plans with the whole school and get complete buy in from staff and pupils. By providing training to employees the investment in energy efficiency will yield greater results. Ensure you publicise both monetary and carbon emission savings alongside company policies and statistics, to improve internal and external stakeholder engagement.
Energy efficiency next steps…
Once you’ve established you want to be a more energy efficient school, how do you buy / install / maintain this? We have several frameworks to help; Low carbon microgeneration, LED lighting, Low carbon heating systems and combined heat and power and finally Solid fuels. Please get in touch to find out more and hear about how we can support you through the whole process – [email protected]. Alternatively you can view all our utilities frameworks on our website.
Watch our energy efficiency for schools’ video here: