Managing energy use and costs in schools
Keeping energy costs down
To help keep costs down, maintained schools are included in Oxfordshire County Council’s energy-purchasing contract with LASER, an arm of Kent County Council and recognised buying organisation for the public sector.
LASER buys energy for more than 100 local authorities and makes use of its bulk buying power to purchase supplies at a competitive price.
LASER - and other providers - offer independent services to academies.
Check your energy bills when they arrive and try to avoid estimated bills.
The our energy bureau validates energy bills for all maintained schools in Oxfordshire, providing a safety net which should help avoid over or under charging. If you have any queries or concerns about your bills, contact the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monitor your energy use
You probably know how much you spent on energy in the past few months, but do you know how much you used? Having a clear picture of your energy use over time will help you avoid unnecessary costs.
An automatic meter reader or smart meter will help you spot unusual patterns of use, highlight opportunities to be more energy efficient and save money on your energy bills. More information about monitoring energy.
Top tips to keep costs down
- Turn off computers and monitors when not in use – they still use power if left on standby.
- Turn off equipment and lights whenever you can.
- Using a kettle? Only boil as much water in as you need.
- If you have a 'point of use' water heater check if it has a timer installed. If not, consider turning it off at the end of the day and over the weekend.
- If a room is too hot during winter, turn heating down before opening windows.
- Avoid blocking radiators.
How to manage your energy use
Follow the simple steps below to put in place a process to help you monitor, manage and reduce your energy use. Click on the links to find further details, hints and tips, and sources of advice for each step along the way
Creating an energy policy for your school
Your school's energy policy sets out how your school wishes to reduce its energy consumption. There are a number of things you will need to consider when writing your policy document/statement.
The energy team in your school
It's important to recognise that staff and pupils are your biggest asset when it comes to driving down energy consumption. The Energy Team should engage with staff and students in order to help facilitate behavioural change and manage the school building's services efficiently.
Monitoring and metering energy in schools
Before you can reduce your energy use, you need to know how much you use! You can do this in several ways.
Writing an energy action plan
An energy action plan is an key part of your school's energy management system. It should summarise the actions you want to take at your school to use energy more efficiently and, where possible, reduce energy consumption. It should help you raise awareness and gain support from the whole school community.
Setting an energy reduction target
Once you have written your energy policy, established your energy team and conducted some initial monitoring to get an idea of your baseline energy use, it's a good idea to set a target for reducing your energy consumption.
A target provides a clear focus and will enable you to quantify and therefore communicate your progress more easily.
Implementing your school's energy management system
Once you have written your policy, established an energy team, begun monitoring and written your action plan you are ready to begin implementing your energy management system.
Check progress and keep monitoring
Now that you've begun to put your plans into action, you will need to keep monitoring your energy use. This will help you to see how well your action plan is working and to check progress against your targets. Reporting back to the school management team and governors will help raise awareness.
Share your good news, plans and top tips to involve the whole school community. Could you show case your activities to other schools? Please get in touch.
Environmental Information Exchange, Oxford Brookes University offer a cost effective energy efficiency support service for primary and secondary schools. For further information visit or email Michael Esvelt.
The Carbon Trust webpages offer useful advice on energy efficiency and carbon saving for schools.