Energy is a compulsory Eco-Schools topic. Any school applying for their Eco-Schools Green Flag award must demonstrate how they’ve tackled energy as part of their Eco-Schools project work.
The importance of cutting energy
In 2007, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) predicted that commercial CO2 emissions were projected to rise by 17% between 2007 and 2025. DECC’s latest Carbon Reduction Commitment impact assessment also estimates that targeted bodies emit 53.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) launched in April 2010 and covers both public and private sectors of the economy. It aims to help these sectors to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% relative to their 1990 level by 2050.
The impact of schools
According to the Department for Children, Schools and Families, schools are responsible for 15% of public sector carbon emissions. The government’s new carbon management strategy for the schools sector, published in April 2010, sets an ambitious target to cut schools’ current emissions from energy use by 53% by 2020 – helping schools to tackle climate change while at the same time saving money.
Cutting CO2 at your school
By joining Eco-Schools, you can take the first steps to reducing your school’s emissions and to save money through reduced energy bills.
All Eco-Schools are required to carry out an energy audit as part of an Environmental Review and then set targets for reducing unnecessary energy use through an Action Plan. Tips on completing a whole school audit and action plan are available through a number of organisations, such as the Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust.
Our Eco-Schools case studies section contains lots of examples of how other Eco-Schools have tackled energy, from achieving whole school behaviour change to linking the energy topic into the curriculum. Visit our case studies page and search for schools like yours that are tackling the Energy topic.
The Pod - EDF Energy's Programme for Greener Schools
Our energy topic is supported by the Pod, EDF Energy’s Programme for Greener Schools. The Pod is an interactive online resource for teachers of Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 children and aims to make real and measurable improvement to the energy use and carbon output of schools across the country.
All activities on the Pod are accredited by Eco-Schools England and specifically designed to help schools progress through the Eco-Schools programme and achieve Bronze, Silver and Green Flag awards.
Both teachers and pupils can use the Pod and joining is completely free. Visit www.jointhepod.org to register.
The Pod’s energy activities
The Pod offers a range of practical energy activities, designed to be run either by a teacher, class or Eco-Committee. The Pod’s energy activities typically come with an activity resource pack, energy information pack, lesson plan, take-it-home sheet, interactive game, energy assembly and an audit to help you track and measure the impact of the activity. Upon finishing an activity you can enter your start and end audit data into the Pod’s special online Pod-o-Meters to measure any savings made.
The Pod is expanding its resources all the time, but the following is a list of the energy activities currently available for Key Stage 2 and 3.
Goodbye Standby: Save energy by reducing the number of devices left in standby mode
Switch-On to Switching-Off: Turn off lights and electronic devices in your school to save energy
Energy Mix: Fossil fuels, nuclear power, renewable energy - how should we power the UK?
The Big Energy Show: Get the whole school involved to save energy
The Heat is On: Save energy - insulate your classrooms
Will Wind Work: Could your school have a wind turbine?
Test a Turbine: Are you ready for wind power?
School Warm Up: How well is your school insulated?
The audits that accompany each of the energy activities can be used to support your Environmental Review and your energy monitoring and evaluation efforts; and the activity’s associated lesson plans will help you link energy into the curriculum.
Visit the Pod's Activity pages.
The Pod’s Switch-Off Fortnight campaign
Switch-Off Fortnight is the Pod’s extremely popular energy awareness campaign and takes place in November each year. Switch-Off Fortnight is based upon the Pod’s Goodbye Standby and Switch-On to Switching-Off activities and schools can sign up to receive a free campaign pack which includes posters, badges, stickers and more.
Taking part in Switch-Off Fortnight is a brilliant way to get whole school involvement on the energy topic; and can also be used as a mechanism to encourage parents and the local community to lead a more energy efficient lifestyle.
Encouraging families and communities to be energy efficient
The Pod has an energy Inspire Section, with suggestions on actions pupils might want to take to encourage their friends, family, neighbours and other people in your community to be greener.
Linking energy into the curriculum
Eco-Schools England have developed a series of lesson ideas designed to inspire you on your journey to embedding sustainable issues into everyday lessons. We have primary and secondary ideas that will encourage your students to solve real-life problems and present their solutions in a variety of ways.
Many of these lesson ideas cover the energy topic as well as link into a range of curriculum areas. Visit our Eco-Schools Free Resources section to find out more and to download these lesson ideas.
Display Energy Certificates
As part of the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, all state schools with a floor area of over 1000m2 are required to display a certificate which rates their energy use on a scale of A-G. The Display Energy Certificate (DEC) looks like the A-G rating you would expect to see when purchasing a new fridge or freezer.
Schools have been required to provide details of their Display Energy Certificate (DEC) when applying for the Bronze, Silver or Green Flag awards since September 2010. This is so Eco-Schools can collect data to establish any trends. Currently, if your school floor area is under 1000m2, you’re not required to submit your DEC.
If your Local Authority isn’t arranging for your school’s DEC to be completed, then why not let Eco-Schools organise it on your behalf? More information is available in our Eco-Schools School Services pages.
Eco-Schools Energy Programmes
Our Eco-Schools Energy programmes are designed to help schools reduce their impact on the environment, improve their financial positions, create better learning environments and introduce topics for learning underpinning the ideas and concepts of sustainability with practical actions that will make the school more sustainable in what it does and what it teaches.
Eco-Schools Energy will assess renewable and energy saving technologies as they emerge and bring them to schools to help embed the principles of sustainability into school business management. See the Eco-Schools Energy programmes we currently have running.
Eco-Schools can now offer a solution to reduce your energy costs. We have developed with the Business Advisory Service Ltd an offer to schools to purchase your energy through us. For more information about sourcing an alternative energy supplier in conjunction with Eco-Schools visit our Eco-Schools Services pages.
Eco-Schools Energy award
We have recently relaunched our Energy award, recognising schools that show good energy efficiency. To see if you are eligible for an Energy award, simply log into the Eco-Schools website and upload some information from your school's Display Energy Certificate (DEC).
If you would like more information on the Eco-Schools Energy award, visit our Eco-Schools Energy Award page.
See how other Eco-Schools have successfully addressed the energy topic
Katie from the Eco-Schools team met up with Arden Academy's Eco-Coordinator and Eco-Committee to find out how they used the Pod's Switch-Off Fortnight energy awareness campaign to kick start their Eco-Schools work and achieve their Bronze award
Enstone Primary's Eco Warriors lead the way in reducing their school's electricity use
Ferring CofE Primary focus on energy in a bid to make their pupils more environmentally aware, save money for the school, and reduce their carbon emissions. They cut their carbon emissions by 22%
Or visit our case studies section for even more ideas and inspiration from other Eco-Schools
Other sources of school energy resources and further information
To see a list of other organisations that can provide you with school resources and advice on tackling the energy topic, or help you reduce your energy consumption, visit our Useful Links page.
National Awareness Days and Campaigns
There are many National Awareness Days, events and campaigns that tie in with the Eco-Schools energy topic. Why not use them as a way to introduce energy issues or projects to your classes and get your students really interested and involved with them. Click on the titles to find out more.
You can get all the environmental awareness dates for the coming academic year, as well as dates for Eco-Schools and Pod events by downloading the 2012-2013 Year Planner.