Energy use is a world-wide concern. Everyone, including school communities, has an important role to play in increasing awareness of energy issues and improving energy efficiency.
The energy required for heating, lighting and powering equipment in an ordinary school classroom releases about 4,000 kg of CO2 every year – enough to fill four hot-air balloons 10 metres in diameter. UK schools spend about £450m on energy each year, three times as much as they do on books, and about 3.5% of their budgets.
Some schools will spend four times more per pupil than similar schools in the same region. The difference is often to do with how effectively schools manage their energy use. Surveys show that, through simple low-cost and no-cost measures, schools can reduce their fuel bills by up to 10% while also reducing their CO2 emissions.
Schools with buildings that have a floor area in excess of 500m² are required to have a Display Energy Certificate (DEC). This was effective from January 2013. DECs have been introduced to raise public awareness of the actual energy use and energy efficiency of the buildings they visit. A DEC certificate presents the actual energy use of a building on an A-G scale where A is the most energy efficient and G is the least. The certificate is similar to those that are required for fridges and other new white goods.The DEC has to be displayed in a prominent place visible to the public. It must be updated each year and will need to be accompanied by an ‘advisory report’ listing measures to improve the performance. This report can last up to seven years before it too will need to be updated, but will not be required to be displayed along with the DEC. To retrieve the certificate using the postcode of your school visit this website.
The amount of energy the world uses every day has trebled over the past century. To keep up with the growing demand for energy to heat and light our homes and power our industries, power stations are burning more and more fossil fuels. As well as using up limited natural resources, this process is releasing increasing volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the gas most responsible for global climate change – into the atmosphere.
Energy use will continue to increase. Increasing evidence supports global warming. Between 1949 and 1989, tropical ocean surface temperatures increased by half a degree Celsius. Since 1983, there has been an 8% decrease in snow cover on the continents of the northern hemisphere.
All Eco-Schools are required to carry out an energy audit as part of their Environmental Review and then can choose to set targets for reducing unnecessary energy use through their Action Plan. Visit the Case Studies section for more details on how other Eco-Schools have tackled this issue. It is also worth visiting the Partners section for further information on how our Delivery Partners can advise and support schools to help them reduce their energy use.