Four key ingredients to energy management and savings
Priestlands Secondary School is one of the most energy efficient schools in Hampshire. It is not newly built and has not received significant investment in energy saving features.
Since 2008, the school has made a 7% reduction in its electricity and is aiming to make a further 5% reduction by April 2011. Kit Rogers, a leading member of the energy team, explains the four key ingredients to good school energy management:
1. Staff to lead the strategy
“Having a clear goal has helped us to become more energy efficient. This has been set and coordinated by our Sustainable Schools Coordinator – it has helped to have someone amongst staff to take on this role to build continuity and maintain momentum.
“Our site team who maintain the buildings has also taken a key role in the strategy. They are careful to control the heating and even have to make controversial decisions about it - such as turning the heating off before the end of the school day and allowing residual heat to be used to the best effect.
“Regular assemblies also help reinforce the importance of energy savings to the whole school community.
2. Pupil activist to lead the tactics
“The school has a hierarchy of responsible pupils that contribute to the sustainability strategy. They work on all manner of projects to mitigate climate change, and saving energy is a fundamental part of that work. We have:
eco-monitors in each tutor group who look after energy use in their classrooms
eco-prefects in each year group who deliver assemblies and manage school wide projects such as composting
eco-warriors who take part in extra curricular activities to take the schools sustainability to the next level – such as helping in the school garden
3. Projects to inspire everyone
“Although projects such as the school garden are not carbon management projects, the common goal of all our sustainability projects is mitigating the effects of climate change and adapting our school to face the changes in the earth’s resources and climate.
“The children’s awareness of wider sustainability challenges helps to motivate them in specific areas for improvement such as energy saving.
“Another more recent successful project has been the installation of a 10.2 kW solar photovoltaic array. Through a combination of local fund raising and Government grants, the school raised the £52,000 to fund this system.
“Not only does it generate around 10,000 kW of electricity a year, but arguably more important is the display which stimulates debate about energy and highlights the value of renewable technology.
4. Advice from Hampshire County Council’s Property Services
“We have received support and guidance from the County Council’s Property Services Energy Team who have helped us to fix a few energy loss ‘black spots’. These were areas of the school that needed particular attention to avoid energy wastage which were picked up by a previous Carbon Trust audit.
“Our new smart meters will help us to monitor energy use and hopefully reduce it again further.
“In conclusion, I think the successes at Priestlands have been mostly due to behaviour. Apart from the solar panels (where were recently installed) there have not been any major changes in the fabric of the buildings. The challenge is to get as many people as you can signed up to your goals and then to keep the momentum going.”
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