Understand your school's baseload

10 KS2 KS3 Maths
What does your school use electricity for?


Some of those items could be switched off overnight but some of them need to be kept on all the time (at least during term time).  The electricity that is needed to power items that keep running at all times is called your baseload.  This can be measured by how much energy is being consumed when the school is empty (evenings, weekends and holidays).
More than half of this school's energy consumption is when the school is closed!

Why would you want to keep paying for electricity when no one is in school?  Cutting down on this means cutting costs plus reducing your carbon footprint.

Look at the following graphs.  One shows an example of a school managing its baseload well and the other shows an inefficient baseload.   Can you tell which is which?
(Each point on this graph represents the average over the hours a school is closed on that day).

Can you see how the baseload in the first example varies wildly from day to day?  This means that the baseload is not consistent.  From one day to another different amounts of electricity are being used when the school is closed.  Let’s have a closer look. These graphs show the electricity being used at hour hourly intervals from 00:00 to 23:30.

school day
holiday

weekend

Is there anything about the energy use that looks strange? 
Can you think of a reason why so much energy is being used at that time.  This might be something your Caretaker/ Site Manager could help you with.


Let’s look at the second example again.  Can you see how in March 2021 something dramatically changed. 
What do you think the cause of this might have been?
a. All electrical items were switched off
b. Something that uses a little bit of electricity was left on
c. Something that uses a lot of electricity was left on




Answers

What does your school use electricity for?

Lights, photocopiers, computers, coffee machines, fridges and freezers, laptop/tablet trolleys, ICT servers, water coolers, interactive whiteboards, technical equipment, sound systems, TVs, printers, telephones, 



Let’s look at the second example again.  Can you see how in March 2021 something dramatically changed.  What do you think the cause of this might have been?

Electric heating was left on.  If this hadn’t been spotted it would have cost the school and additional £2600 over the course of a year.  Find out more about that and how the problem was solved in our Alerts case study.



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