Simple ways for schools to save electricity

As we head into the winter months – days getting colder, evenings getting darker – the need to light and heat your school premises increases – and so do the unavoidable costs incurred. Shea Karssing, writer for Smarter Business, shares some simple ways to keep your bills to a minimum and save on electricity – the key being, shop around!

Looking for savings in energy costs is one of the simplest ways for schools to, collectively, save millions of pounds a year. We’ve found that, although the government allows schools the freedom to buy their energy where they choose, many schools simply don’t take advantage of this flexibility and opportunity to save.

As a result, many educational establishments are paying more than they need to for their gas and electricity – money that could be put directly towards education.

Fast fact
Did you know? Lighting comprises almost 50% of the electricity used by schools.

How much are schools paying for electricity?
Figures from the Department for Education show that schools spend an average of £27,000 per year on energy, with some of the larger schools paying up to £80,000! Like businesses, schools should shop around to cut their energy bills. There’s also more to saving electricity than reducing energy tariffs; schools should look to reduce energy consumption within their own walls.

Reducing energy consumption
A government guide reports that more than 20% of energy consumed goes to waste and that schools can reduce energy bills by 10% through simple good housekeeping alone.

Top tips for saving energy

  • Involve the whole school in saving electricity and have your students come up with ideas to secure energy savings.
  • Switch desktop computers for laptop computers as these consume far less energy.
  • Use Energy-Star appliances which use energy more efficiently.
  • Replace all your incandescent lights with LED or energy-efficient fluorescents – they cost a little more up front, but last ten times longer and are four times more efficient.
  • Turn off lights when not in use.
  • Have your heating on a timer that comes on in the morning and is turned off at night.
  • Check that buildings are properly insulated.
  • Try to use natural lighting as much as possible.
  • Use smarter metering solutions to monitor energy use and identify potential energy efficiencies.
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Longer-term energy-efficient investments can include:

  • installing solar panels;
  • re-insulating your buildings;
  • upgrading your heating and cooling systems;
  • investing in new energy-efficient equipment.

With a focus on effective energy management, plus efficiencies, schools in the UK stand not only to save money on energy bills, but to lessen their carbon footprints in the process – a win-win for all!

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