Forty-three Devon schools have recently completed an energy education scheme, organised by Devon County Council in partnership with Resource Futures, resulting in some impressive savings.
Since September 2012, 1,757 pupils and 133 staff from schools across the county have undertaken whole school campaigns. For the schools that completed the project in the spring and summer terms, 2014, eight schools have seen reductions of at least 15% on their energy use during the campaign. A further six schools lowered electricity consumption by 5 -15% during the campaign. The project highlighted the potential for further reductions to be made, which could result in significant financial savings for the schools.
This project was initiated and funded by Devon County Council and EU Sustainable Energy Across the Common Space (SEACS). Resource Futures, one of the UK’s leading environmental consultancies, worked with senior management, teachers, pupils and premises staff at the schools to conserve energy by conducting walk-around audits with pupils, and encouraging behaviour change through workshops and assemblies. This was followed by analysis of billing data and monitoring of energy use through meter reads and/or Intelligent Wireless Energy (OWL) monitors.
The participating schools played their part by labelling switches, creating new energy policies, bringing energy issues into the school curriculum and adjusting heating and boiler controls. Furthermore, pupils formed Energy Teams to spread the message amongst their peers, whilst schools ran competitions with a challenge: which class could save the most energy.
A teacher from Kenton Primary said: “Our involvement in the energy project has both raised awareness of the use of energy within the school and in the wider world. The success we had has acted as a starting point and the children are keen to continue to try and reduce our energy usage. They are also more aware, from their participation in the workshops, of actions they can take out of school.”
Commenting on the project, Sheila Gundry, Resource Futures’ Education Manager, said: “This is a fantastic result for the schools involved. Real action to change how we behave towards our use of energy delivers a positive benefit for everyone. Not only can schools see a positive impact on their bills, their curriculum is also enriched with active learning and participation by their pupils.”
Resource Futures is a South West-based independent environmental consultancy that promotes effective and efficient re-use of resources. It aims to promote a circular economy that minimises the environmental effects of consumption and production. Working with both businesses and government bodies, Resource Futures helps clients to use material resources better and encourage sustainable practices.