The Transition Bath Schools Energy project has been running for 6 years and aims to reduce the energy consumption of the 78 state schools in the Bath and North East Somerset Area. The project started soon after CSE published a spreadsheet containing the annual energy consumptions of all large public buildings which was sourced from Display Energy Certificate data. A quick analysis of this data demonstrated up to a factor of 3 difference in energy consumption per square meter between similar schools and we wondered why there was such a difference? Initially we targeted schools with the highest energy use per square metre, and in some case achieved a 60% reduction in their energy consumption though low or no cost changes like improving the control of their boilers,
Since then we have gone on to provide free school surveys and help and support to schools in reducing their energy consumption. In 2012 we were involved in a DECC funded project with BWCE to see if there was a pay-to-save type funding model within schools which could provide capital investment to reduce energy costs. The conclusion of this project was that the administrative overheads of the work dominated the potential benefits from energy savings making the investments only marginally economic and thus too much of a risk for BWCE to take on.
In 2013 we were involved in a professional energy survey of 72 of the 78 state schools sponsored by B&NES council.
The focus of our work has been centred around using Smart Meter data – historic half hourly electricity and gas meter readings) which can be used to identify low cost opportunities to reduce energy consumption in schools. Because schools are only occupied 15% of the year much of our focus has been on reducing out of hours energy consumption, an average of about 50% of schools’ gas and electricity consumption is out of core schools in B&NES – this is typical of all UK schools. Typical problems we have identified include high standby electricity consumption, and boiler control issues. During the 2013 survey we processed half hourly meter data going back on average 3 years for 240 gas and electricity meters and wrote up our analysis for almost all the schools in Bath (B&NES).
In 2015 B&NES council ran a Schools’ Energy Competition for 13 schools in conjunction with Resource Futures which lead to a 20% on average energy saving across 13 schools. This approach interested us and in 2016 we started looking in conjunction with Bath:Hacked at how we could teach school children about energy use in an interesting way which would increase their enthusiasm and learning about the subject using a web platform and gamification to automate the 2015 council run competition.
If you are interested in getting involved in the project or would like advice on reducing energy consumption in you school, please contact us here