Last week we brought you a really interesting blog from Andy Goff and David Horton about the benefits of ClaaS and how it can really help schools save money but yet still achieve having the latest technology and cutting edge products both for the benefit of the pupils and enhancing their appeal to prospective parents.
So today I wanted to take a look at sustainability, and how we can look at this for our schools.
What is the concept of sustainability?
This originated in the Brundtland Report in 1987, which defined sustainability as sustainable development, and sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Of course, it is now considered much wider than this and there are many theories that dispel and expand on this original definition but the concept remains; we need to act now to protect future generations and to provide economic and environmental savings in the here and now.
How can we apply this to schools? One of our partners, Solar for Schools, is leading the way in bringing solar energy to our schools. How it works;
The UK Government pays an extra fee or tariff for every unit of electricity generated from solar panels for 20 years. This tariff is often referred to as a Feed In Tariff or FIT.
In addition an owner of solar panels can use that electricity and save the cost of buying it from the grid. Any surplus not used on site is sold back to the grid. Over time, the subsidy income and savings on purchased electricity pay for the cost of installing and maintaining the panels.
In the case of free solar panels, Solar for Schools co-ordinate the funding, arrange the installation of the system and manage it for 20 years. The school simply agrees to provide the roof and buy the clean, renewable, electricity from the panels for 20 years. Any savings on electricity bills can then be used to buy additional teaching materials such as computers and books.
Solar for Schools also provide monitoring and educational materials and tools via the resources section of their website so that students can learn about solar energy and sustainable living. Being able to see your own school generating electricity really brings the lesson home. See an example here. Did you know, the total impact so far of what Solar for Schools is doing is:
Students see renewable solar energy in action.
Inspiring the next generation to act now. Many schools are running projects with their pupils when the solar panels are introduced and they are seeing first hand the impacts of renewable energy and taking the ideas home.
Tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided in the last year.
That’s huge, but we can do way more!
Megawatthours of electricity, enough to drive an electric car around the world 420 times!
And not only this, the schools that have signed up have save thousands of pounds in energy bills since they started.
There is no risk and no cost to the school.
But it’s not just the big things that can make a difference. There are ways you can get the pupils involved to look at your school’s energy consumption, make projects for them around the subject, get them interested, after all it’s not just in schools that children can make a difference to energy saving initiatives, get it right in school and they’ll share these practices at home.
When was the last time you reviewed your light bulbs in your school? Are they all energy saving?
Lighting accounts for 20-25% of the total energy used in schools. So it makes sense to make the most of natural daylight:
• Daylight is free. Don’t light empty rooms or areas where daylight is sufficient. Studies show pupils are more productive working in natural daylight. Encourage everyone to turn off lights when leaving a room; this could reduce lighting costs by up to 15%.
• Fit energy saving lightbulbs. Lighting costs can be reduced by up to 75% by replacing standard lightbulbs with energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs.
• Get pupils involved. Appoint pupils as ‘energy monitors’ to inspect rooms and switch off lights at the end of lessons and break times.
Electrical Equipment. Did you know electricity often accounts for 20% of the energy used in schools, but 50% of your energy costs. To reduce these costs:
• Switch monitors off. When computer monitors aren’t in use, switch them off. PC monitors account for almost two-thirds of a computer’s energy consumption. If left on 24 hours a day, a computer will cost £25 a year to run. Multiply that by the number of PCs in your school - it soon adds up!
• Turn vending machines off. Outside hours, turn off your vending machines for non-perishable items. Leaving them on 24 hours a day could cost around £120 a year. If they are only on during school hours you could save around £85, a 70% saving! A simple seven-day time switch can be used for this.
If you are interested in exploring the savings that Solar for Schools can generate, please register your interest here.
Carbon Trust: Energy Saving Fact Sheet, Schools.
Solar for Schools