Newsletter 4 – 29th March 2019

Well done to Freshford Church School who were winners of the Environmental category in the recent Bath Life Awards

The judges commented ““This school’s strong environmental ethos is as integrated as it is inspirational. Highly impressive.” The award recognised their work with Energy Sparks, as well as their project to install solar PV panels on the school roof, and their work to reduce single-use plastic from the school.

Emma Heatley-Adams (school governor) and George Tomlinson (PTA Chair) collect their Bath Life Award on behalf of Freshford Church School

Why is it important to involve your pupils in energy saving

We know that some of our participating schools are using Energy Sparks as an energy management tool for your site or business managers, but haven’t yet started using it with your pupils. Getting your pupils engaged in using Energy Sparks is a great way to get the pupils taking ownership for the school’s energy use, reminding teachers and fellow pupils to switch off lights and appliances and keep the heating down.

In addition , Danish research now demonstrates that childhood energy practices “Stick” with us through adulthood (

This means that when young adults move into their own homes, their energy habits and comfort expectations, which are formed by previous life experiences, move with them. At Energy Sparks, we’ve observed that good energy saving awareness and practices learnt at school, start to be shared with pupil’s families in the home environment increasing the impact of the work done in school.

Follow Energy Sparks on Facebook and Twitter for regular energy saving prompts and news

Don’t forget to turn your heating and hot water off for the Easter holidays!

Run a campaign to switch off lights and use natural light on sunny days –

Did you know? Making good use of daylight in a classroom can reduce lighting costs by 19%.

Natural window light has long been known to positively affect mood, energy and concentration. However, a familiar scene in classrooms and offices is the use of blinds to control glare when it is bright outside. This is particularly common when whiteboards and projectors are being used, as many models are not bright enough to view in strong natural daylight. Often the blinds are left drawn, with lights switched on, even when the whiteboard or projector is switched off. Where possible, staff and pupils should be encouraged to use blinds to direct daylight onto the ceiling and walls instead of closing them completely. This should reduce the need for electric lighting in the classroom whilst reducing glare.

Another common problem in schools is windows partially obscured by resources and displays. Keeping windows clear helps to optimise the amount of natural light entering a room.

In many schools, classrooms can have excessive lighting installed. This is often arranged so that individual rows of light fittings can be switched separately. With your Energy Team, identify which rooms in the school have multiple light switches which allow rows or groups of fittings to be controlled independently. Then assess whether some rows of lights could normally be left switched off. Once identified, mark up the respective switches with red stickers in order to indicate to the staff and pupils that these marked switches are not to be used unless necessary (i.e. at night or on a very overcast day).

Next Steps to save energy

  1. Design some posters to encourage staff and pupils to open the blinds and switch off lights.

  2. Consider asking your school caretaker or site manager to remove some of the light bulbs from their fittings in over lit areas of the school.

  3. Ask your school business manager or site manager to choose the most efficient lighting possible. Upgrade existing light bulbs and fluorescent tubes to low energy LED tubes and lights.

  4. Ask your school business manager or site manager to consider occupancy and daylight sensors in problematic areas of the school: By dimming or switching off lighting when there is nobody in a room occupancy sensors can reduce electricity use by 30%. Adjusting the artificial lighting according to the amount of natural light in a room using daylight sensors or photocells can reduce electricity use by up to 40%.

  5. Discuss with your school business manager or site manager a maintenance schedule which includes cleaning windows, skylights and fittings, checking and replacing old and dim lamps, ensuring controls are in good order and set properly, cleaning occupancy sensors if installed. Without regular maintenance, light levels can fall by 30% in 2–3 years.

  6. When possible, position computers in classrooms so that they are parallel to the window wall, their monitors face a blank wall, and there are no windows behind the user. This means natural light can be used more often without glare problems.

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