Well done to Pensford Primary School who are currently leading the Energy Sparks scoreboard with 135 points. They recently used the free survey tool, Survey Monkey to ask pupils’ families about energy use at home. Their Energy team will be reviewing the results of the survey soon.
Review of Christmas Holiday energy consumption
Have you used the Energy Sparks charts to see how much gas and electricity your school used in the Christmas holidays? If not, earn double points carrying out two activities Pupils review energy usage charts (http://www.energysparks.uk/activity_types/58) and
Pupils investigate whether the the school’s heating and hot water is switched off during the school holidays
With your Energy Team review the energy usage charts displayed on our website. Some Energy Sparks schools show a clear reduction in energy use during the Christmas school holidays. Unfortunately, there are also some schools where there is no reduction in gas consumption for heating compared to term time. See the graph below for one of our Energy Sparks schools showing their gas consumption in the week starting 24th December and the week starting 14th January. Is this your school?
Can you find out how your school performed? Did you turn off most of your heating in the school holidays? If not, can you carry out the Energy Sparks activity:
Pupils talk to the caretaker about turning off the heating and hot water in the school holidays (http://www.energysparks.uk/activity_types/61) to take action for the February Half term break.
We have introduced a new activity:
Pupils compare energy use for heating with outside temperature data
Review your energy use charts for gas. Do you notice a large daily variation in your school’s gas consumption during the winter months like the chart below?
This could be due to your heating system responding to changes in outside temperature.
To check this, look at historical weather data for your area. Your school may have its own weather station or you could use http://www.paulwilman.com/previous_data.php which is a great website showing real time and historical weather data for Bath (requires Google Chrome web browser).
Compare days with high gas consumption, does this correspond with low outdoor temperatures? Is the weather warmer on days with less gas consumption? If so, it demonstrates your school has good thermostatic control (temperature control) of its heating system.
If the variations in gas consumption don’t correspond to outside temperature changes, can you investigate what else might be causing the change in consumption. You may find that energy is being wasted on high consumption days, due to doors and windows being left open for extended periods. This could be due to poor thermostatic control in individual rooms, or a poorly located main boiler thermostat. If your main boiler thermostat is located in a poorly insulated room with few radiators such as the school hall it may never get up to the set temperature causing the heating controller to run the boiler constantly which causes better insulated classrooms to overheat.
You may find that the programming of your boiler controller could be improved. Ask your caretaker to check whether the boiler is coming on unnecessarily, and whether you could better locate your heating thermostat.