Energy consumption in schools can vary depending on the age of the buildings, their state of repair, occupancy hours and the amount and type of electrical equipment installed. Generally, secondary schools will have higher energy costs than primary schools. This can be explained by secondary schools’ longer hours and larger number of students, as well as more widespread use of electrical equipment in ICT, science, sports and crafts lessons.
However, areas of energy waste are often the same regardless of school size or level. The charts detail where the biggest savings can be made. They are divided into energy use and energy cost and comparing them could help school managers decide which areas to prioritise. For example, note how much energy electric lighting uses – 8% – but then compare that with what it may be costing – as much as 20%.
Energy use in schools is escalating due to the use of ITC equipment which, in turn, increases electricity demand. Moreover, school buildings are now being used for community purposes, increasing occupancy hours and the use of facilities.
In each of the key consumption areas identified in the charts (previous page) there are three main opportunities to save energy:
- Switching off – all energy consuming equipment should be switched off when not required. This can be done by staff and students, by timer switches or by adjusting building control systems – and need not cost any money.
- Maintenance – a number of energy efficiency measures can be carried out as part of routine maintenance procedures at no extra cost.
- Refurbishment – energy saving measures taken when planning major refurbishment can be extremely cost effective.