New energy education programme launched to help schools save on sky-high utility costs
‘Energy in Schools’ provides energy management and educational tools that could help schools save thousands of pounds per year on energy costs and reduce carbon emissions
The programme will provide schools with smart meters, technology devices and learning resources to encourage lower consumption and energy efficiency education amongst students
SMS plc, a fully integrated energy infrastructure company, and MyUtilityGenius (“MUG”), an energy consultancy, have launched Energy in Schools (“EiS”) to help schools in Britain significantly reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, and to engage pupils in learning about energy efficiency.
A recent survey by the school leaders’ union NAHT[i] found that almost all respondents (99%) were expecting energy costs over the next 12 months to continue rising, with 16% anticipating an increase of 200% or more. More than a third of respondents predicted a budget deficit by the end of 2023, directly impacting their ability to invest in teachers and support for children.
The EiS programme will provide schools with everything required to get started on their energy-saving journey, including a smart meter, easy-to-use smart device sensors, pocket-sized programmable single-board computers (Micro:bit), a TV display, training, support and teaching resources. The integrated solution uses the energy monitoring software to draw data from the smart meters, to monitor energy consumption, and feed it to the TV in order to display the energy dashboard clearly to school users. This enables the school to engage pupils, teachers and visitors in analysing usage and support the behaviour change required to help manage and reduce consumption.
A pilot scheme for EiS across 20 schools, found the following results[ii] were achieved:
- Schools implementing EiS could achieve savings of c.7% of on energy costs;
- 85% of school participants reported more confidence in their knowledge across energy and climate topics with a better understanding of how much energy they used and how to reduce it;
- 89% of schools were motivated to take action to reduce energy consumption, incentivised by the metrics provided by the EiS platform.
EiS – which is designed to help schools align with the Department for Education’s (DfE) ‘Climate Change Strategy’ and the UK government’s wider net zero 2050 goal – uses Microsoft coding and provides tailored lesson plans aligned to key stage two and three, engaging pupils in STEM subjects on climate change and energy consumption. The lesson plans were developed and tested by PGCE qualified experts at University of Lancaster and are designed to support staff, teachers and pupils. In addition, advice, training and an optional audit of school buildings to identify energy saving opportunities can also be provided under the scheme.
Schools can apply for the EiS programme through the website energyinschools.co.uk. Schools may be eligible for funding support to invest in the programme through the DfE, local councils, or their energy supplier.
Tom Woolley, Smart Product & Strategy Director at SMS, and spokesperson for Energy in Schools, said:
“Unprecedented energy price inflation means schools are under immense pressure to find cost savings. This means finding ways to mitigate the destructive impact of rising bills on school finances, and also reducing the education sector’s contribution to climate change more widely. Improving awareness and education of energy efficiency within schools, whilst providing easier access to technologies that can help schools and students better understand, manage, and reduce their consumption is one the simplest ways of achieving this.
“Energy in Schools is designed to empower schools with technologies and learning resources that can make them role models of sustainable energy use within our local communities, whilst also providing better opportunities for young people to engage practically with the net zero agenda. Ultimately, our goal is to help safeguard the future prospects of our school system, our children, and our planet.”
David Page, Deputy Head & Computing subject leader, Jennett’s Park Primary School:
“The Energy in Schools project has been fabulous. It has provided the children with a rich and meaningful context that has been truly empowering to them. They have taken responsibility to monitor the energy use across our school and make meaningful differences to energy consumption. The project has also strengthened their views of themselves as global citizens.”
[ii] Analysis conducted by CSE and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and separately by Carbon Trust