Eco-Schools EnergyThe Energy topic is a compulsory topic and it has to be completed in order to achieve a Green Flag Award. It is also a topic that can significantly reduce schools outgoings and lower their carbon footprint. Making small changes to how your school is run can save you a large amount of money.

Schools in the UK spend approximately £100m on electricity alone and the energy required for heating, lighting and powering equipment in an ordinary school classroom releases about 4,000 kg of CO2 every year.

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 has set a very ambitious target to cut schools’ current emissions from energy use by 53% by 2020.

Getting started with energy

Check the facts & figures

Invite your school caretaker to show the pupils (including your eco-committee) around the school, showing pupils how to take readings from the gas and electricity meters. Members from the eco-committee can plot graphs from energy data collected and discuss trend and /unusual consumption and discuss actions required to help your school save energy. The analysis can also be displayed on the eco-notice board and reported, by the pupils, to the whole school in assembly. Use your schools energy metering system, in Surrey this is called Systems Link. You can get information how you can use this powerful tool by getting in touch with Surrey County Council.

Apply for an Eco energy award

Eco-schools in surrey who can achieve an energy saving of 10% or more can apply for an energy awards. Apply online on the Eco-schools website and submit two consecutive Display Energy Certificates (DEC) or monthly meter readings showing a decrease in energy use.

Lighting monitors

Start by selecting a pupil in each class to act as a lighting monitor or possible a few members of the Eco-committee. If the lighting monitor thinks there to be enough natural daylight to work comfortably at the desks, they switch off the lights. Pupils at some schools leave a calling card which thanks the class for switching off or gives a reminder for next time. School assemblies can also be used to remind everyone about saving energy.

Switch off ITC

Either staff or pupils can be charged with the responsibility of turning off all equipment (e.g. computers, projectors, printers, lights) when not in use. All ITC equipment can be allocated a colour sticker using a simple traffic light coding system, also creating notices, posters and ‘switch it off’-stickers on monitors, projectors, computers and printers is visually persuasive. For example use red for always leave on amber to switch of outside of school hours and yellow always switch off when you leave the room!

Ideas of easy things your school can do –

  • Have a Blackout Day when you use no electricity or gas. That includes computers, photocopiers etc
  • Give someone the job to Close windows and doors in each classroom
  • Join in with no power hour or switch off fortnight (No power hour or Switch off fortnight switch off fortnight
  • Involve kitchen staff in initiatives, for example you could get the pupils to serve them a cup of tea (roll reverse from normal) and give them a presentation about energy saving
  • Conduct and Energy Audit so that you can show the savings made and Get pupils to present the outcomes at staff meetings; you will have already have done this in you  environmental review.
  • Display energy certificate for everyone to see
  • Buy cheap Energy saving technology like, bulbs, Draught excluders
  • Get an energy monitor or use systems link
  • Run a an internal energy campaign led by students, you could get children to produce posters, talk about it in assemblies, run small school events showing how everyone can save energy easily.
  • Invite your site manager to the eco-meetings, get them to help you come up with ideas of how to save energy

Other activities and case studies from Eco-Schools can be found on both the Eco-Schools website and the Pod website. Don’t forget you can contact your local Green Flag Ambassador school for advice too.

For a range of lessons to help combine litter topic with the curriculum visit the Eco-Schools website

Support is available from Council Officers and other organisations, Contact


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