Newsletter 9 – 23rd May 2018

£58,000 Funding awarded to Energy Sparks

The Energy Sparks project are delighted to announce that we have been awarded £58,000 funding from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to enhance and extend our programme teaching school pupils about energy and empowering them to take action to make their schools and homes more energy efficient.

To date, the Energy Sparks project has been funded by grants awarded by the Open Data Institute, Bath and West Community Energy Fund, the Naturesave Trust and OVO Energy, and has worked with primary schools in Bath and North East Somerset. The new funding has been awarded through Phase 1 of BEIS’ Non Domestic Smart Energy Management Innovation Competition and will allow the Energy Sparks team to add new features and functionality to the Energy Sparks website including:

  • extending the existing primary school focus to provide activities and increased functionality for secondary schools.

  • increased chart functionality for all users, with the opportunity to view the energy use data in different units, such as cost and kg Carbon dioxide equivalent.

  • the implementation of a school specific digital dashboard designed for adults and older pupils. This will automatically analyse schools’ smart meter data presenting both short and long-term energy saving opportunities on the Energy Sparks website, along with supporting professional advice.

The Phase 1 funding for development runs until the 31st August 2018, and there will be the opportunity to apply for further funding in Phases 2 and 3 of the competition to extend the geographical spread of Energy Sparks beyond Bath and North East Somerset in 2019 and 2020.

Feedback from our Spring term prize winners

As mentioned in the last newsletter, Pensford and Freshford Primary Schools were our top scoring schools up to March 2018 and were each awarded £200 towards an energy saving improvement of their choice.

Pensford are using their prize money on a new A++ rated dishwasher. It has an annual water consumption estimate of 3080 litres and an annual energy consumption estimate of 258kWh/annum. Their pupils commented:

A new dishwasher will help Mrs Mateer with breakfast club and will clean the plates and cups for the children better and more efficiently. It’s good that we’ll be saving energy too.” (Emma)

It is an A++ so it means we’ll spend less on energy and this will help us to spend more on other stuff for children.” (Cordy)

Freshford School will be using their prize money to replace some of their 2D light fittings with new LED fittings. At the same time they are looking at installing motion sensor detection for their toilet and storeroom lights to further reduce wasted energy due to lights left on.

More Prizes for Schools at the end of the Summer term

Two more prizes of £200 are available for the top performing schools at the end of the summer term (excluding Pensford and Freshford), so all our other Energy Sparks schools are encouraged to record any activities completed.

Activity Suggestion

Pupils review energy usage charts

Now we are moving into the summer time, it is a good opportunity to review the energy usage charts for your school displayed on the Energy Sparks website. Here are some questions to think about while you are looking at the charts:


  1. How much difference is there in your gas consumption for a week in May or June with a week in January?

  2. Is your heating turned off now? If so, how much gas does the school still use? This will be for cooking in the school kitchen or heating hot water.

  3. If your heating is still on, this wouldn’t matter too much if the thermostat control of your schools boiler functioned well as the thermostatic control should throttle back the production of heat and insignificant amounts of gas would be consumed. Unfortunately the majority of schools’ thermostatic control is still poor meaning more gas is consumed than is necessary, probably largely as a result of windows being opened with the heating on full. Ask your caretaker or school Business Manager to turn off your heating now until the autumn.

  4. When are the times of day when most gas is used during the summer months? What is happening then? Is there a peak in gas use across lunchtime? This is likely to be gas used for cooking in the school kitchens. Can you see short peaks in gas use throughout the day? This is likely to be gas used for water heating. Can you ask your caretaker to switch off water heating outside of school hours, and particularly during the school holidays?


  1. How much difference is there in your electricity consumption for a week in May or June with a week in January?

  2. Why would you expect to see less electricity used in the summer compared to the winter months? If you see little change in your electricity use across the year, can you run a campaign to switch off lights in the summer months when the weather is sunnier and there is more natural light.

  3. Do you see a reduction in electricity when some classes are out of school on a trip, or your sports’ day is taking place? If not, next time your class do an outdoor lesson, make sure you have a nominated classroom energy monitor to switch off any lights and electrical appliances before you leave the room.

  4. Compare the hourly usage charts for different days. Can you identify the school baseload for electricity consumption? This will be the level overnight, which will remain almost the same each day. See if this level has changed since you became involved with Energy Sparks? Can you think of ways to reduce this level further?

  5. When are the peaks in electricity use? Do they mostly occur at the same time each day? Why do you think these occur? Think about food being prepared in the school kitchens, dishwashers running, kettles running in the staff room, photocopiers running, hot water heating switching on, …..

  6. Can you think of ways to reduce the peaks in electricity use?

Don’t forget to record this and any associated activities on the Energy Sparks site and earn Energy Sparks points to move higher up the scoreboard.

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