Having a Smart Meter can help with reducing energy use, as it is possible to track usage over time. Involving children and integrating the monitoring of energy use into the science and maths curriculum can lead to valuable learning experiences. It can also be encouraging for teachers and other staff to see the impact of the changes they are making.
Useful resources are:
'An introductory guide to smart meters for the public sector' By the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Energy Sparks can help schools analyse their data.
Carrying out an energy audit will be extremely valuable in giving you a current picture regarding what your usage is and in what areas you can make cuts. involving children in energy audits is a great way of empowering them - making them a key part of the change ensures longevity and can also provide excellent learning opportunities. Energy audits can include looking at a range of things including lighting, heating (heating loss through windows/draughts) and hot water use.
Useful resources are:
Find an energy certificate here. A Display Energy Certificate (DEC) shows the building's energy performance based on the energy consumed over the previous12 months. A DEC should be displayed clearly so the public can see it.
Energy Sparks: signing up to Energy Sparks enables schools to use the online tools to see an analysis of their school's energy data. Schools are also able to see suggestions for actions that could save energy. Energy Sparks presents the data in adult or child-friendly versions. Energy Sparks provides virtual or on-site energy audits.
Eco-Schools: One of the 7 steps in the Eco-Schools programme is for children to carry out an environmental review, which can include an Energy Audit where children look at what computers, lights etc are used.
Professional help for schools on understanding their energy bills: OFGEM (Britain's Independent Energy Regulator) explains the different parts that make up your energy bill. The document Request help and support for your procurement can be useful if needing help with choosing where to purchase energy from.
MAKING DECISIONS ON ENERGY
The DfE guidance document 'Energy efficiency: guidance for the school and further education college estate' provides information about how schools and colleges can reduce their energy use and costs, and also carbon emissions. The document covers hot water, equipment, lighting, heating and technology. Both larger investments and everyday actions are included in the advice.
The Buying for Schools: energy guidance provides information on buying energy in the right way and ensuring that procurement is compliant.
The Carbon Trust aims to accelerate the move to a decarbonised future. They are partnering with the public sector and have some very useful guidance resources such as Unlocking Net Zero: the potential role of carbon footprinting software. They provide support with action planning and advice to a range of business and public sectors.
Whilst considering things like hours of use of heating and how to ventilate classrooms whilst also keeping warm, the CO2 monitors provided by the government are useful tools for helping teachers make decisions on when it is necessary to open windows to lower CO2 levels. Ensuring that all staff are confident in using these monitors can be a key part of the overall strategy.
ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
Energy Sparks provides a huge number of activities to help children develop energy and carbon literacy. They can become aware of their own carbon footprint, take action and see the impact. Being part of a push for change can help children feel empowered and enthusiastic about their role in future plans.
Energy Sparks have created a system whereby energy saving actions will earn Energy Sparks points and allow children to see selected charts with their actions on them. This helps with motivation and enables monitoring of progress over time.