Effective strategies for schools to save on electricity bills

Schools can significantly reduce their electricity bills by implementing a series of energy-saving measures.
Child jumping in hallway

As children return to classrooms across the UK (and much of the world), we've identified 10 easy ways schools can reduce their energy consumption and running costs this year - at little or no cost.

Strategies like these do more than extend budgets: they also contribute to creating a more sustainable learning environment.

  1. Establish an energy team: Form a dedicated team of teachers, caretakers, and pupils to devise a long-term plan for energy efficiency. This team should conduct an audit of the school's facilities, focusing on areas of significant energy use such as lighting, heating, computing, and catering.
  2. Monitor temperature settings: Ensure all heating and cooling controls are set to the most efficient temperatures. The recommended temperature for classrooms is 18°C.
  3. Use time switches: Time switches and lighting controls can be deployed to reduce the costs of external lighting. They can also be used to control water boilers and vending machines.
  4. Turn off vending machines: Switch off vending machines dispensing non-perishable items when the school day ends. This could be automated with a seven-day time switch. It costs approximately £120 per year to keep these machines running constantly, but by switching them off out of hours, you could save up to £85 every year.
  5. Switch off monitors and computers: These consume a lot of energy when switched on but not in use. Avoid this by setting all computers in the school to activate 'hibernate mode' after 10 minutes of non-use. Encourage staff and students to manually turn off the monitors when they are not being used.
  6. Utilise natural light: Use natural light instead of classroom lights whenever possible. Studies have shown that students are more productive when working in natural daylight.
  7. Turn off the lights: Implement a policy of reminding staff and pupils to turn off lights when they leave a room. This could cut lighting costs by up to 15%.
  8. Use energy-saving lights: LED lights use up to 85% less energy than traditional bulbs. They improve the quality of light and last far longer than older types.
  9. Switch off appliances during holidays: Ensure that electrical devices and appliances are turned off throughout the holiday times. Many devices in standby mode continue to consume electricity.
  10. Check your tariff: Check that your school is on a tariff package that is best suited to your energy usage. You can make significant savings by switching either to a different package offered by your supplier or by choosing a new utility company.

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