How to Improve Energy Efficiency in Schools and Academies

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How to Improve Energy Efficiency in Schools and Academies

What is energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency refers to using less energy in completing a task to achieve the same result. An example of this is an energy-efficient building which will require less energy for heating to achieve a comfortable temperature. 

It is important to understand how much energy is being used in your buildings and how this is influenced to find ways to reduce your consumption, and increase your efficiency. It is recommended to check your energy readings on a regular basis to understand your usage as well as how much you are being charged.

Why is it important to increase energy efficiency in educational buildings?

One major benefit from improving the energy efficiency of your buildings, whether that may be as an academy, college, or school, is being able to reduce unnecessary costs and use savings to address a different area of need. In addition, by being more energy efficient, this can help in reaching decarbonisation goals in the path to net zero. 

Which factors influence energy efficiency?

There are a range of factors which can affect your estates’ energy usage, including:

  • The buildings’ condition
  • The maintenance of the building and its systems
  • The type of building – whether it is a primary, secondary, or further educational building, as each of these will have different requirements

What are the main ways to improve energy efficiency in schools, academies, and colleges?

There are several methods which can be used to increase energy efficiency in your buildings, from assessing your energy output to reducing water and heat waste, as well as incorporating renewable energy sources. These are outlined in more detail below.

What is an energy audit?

An energy audit is used to assess our building’s energy requirements and efficiency. This can help to demonstrate which areas need focus for improving efficiency. Energy audits can be helpful to form an action plan with steps to implement to improve your building’s energy efficiency. 

How to reduce heat energy usage?

The simplest ways to reduce heating usage are to use custom controls for temperature settings and reduce the set temperatures. The Department for Education (DfE) recommends setting the internal temperature to 20 degrees Celsius as the ideal level for a school. 

Further recommendations include:

  • Checking the ‘optimised start’ function to ensure heating does not automatically turn on too early in the day.
  • Switching off the heating earlier, for example an hour before closing the school.
  • Reducing the temperature by 1 degree Celsius can save up to 10% off your heating bill each year.

How to implement behaviour changes?

As part of your school’s overall sustainability strategy, you can refer to ways in which staff members can adjust their behaviour to reduce energy waste. Examples of behaviour to promote are:

  • Switching off lights and equipment when not in use.
  • Training staff on adjusting temperatures for their classrooms.
  • Ensuring cleaners turn off electricals at the end of the day.

How to reduce water waste?

There are many ways you can make a conscious effort to reduce hot and cold water waste, including the below:

  • Turn off running water when not in use.
  • Use insulation on pipes to reduce heat loss.
  • Make sure water heaters are switched off during the weekend, holiday periods, and evenings.
  • Taking a water meter reading in the evening and morning to see if there are changes which could indicate a leak.

What to consider for lighting usage?

To reduce electrical usage in lighting, it is recommended to follow the below tips:

  • Switch off lights when no longer in use.
  • Encourage natural light sources where possible.
  • Switch to LED-powered light bulbs which can save up to 80% on electricity bills.

How can renewable energy be used to reduce energy usage?

Introducing renewable energy sources can not only increase your estate’s energy efficiency, but also provide savings whilst benefiting the environment. Examples of renewable energy sources include solar panels, and wind turbines, which can be implemented along with improved ventilation. If you are considering investing in sustainable technology, it is recommended that you consult an expert who can assist with assessing the best option for your building requirements. 

If you may be seeking a way to improve your estate’s energy efficiency,  and are interested to learn more about developing an actionable plan, as well as accessing necessary funding to achieve this, contact one of our team today and we can support you with your sustainability goals. Whether you may be seeking funding to decarbonise your estate, or understand more about how to reduce energy costs, get in touch with one of our experts.

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