Complete a baseload audit

Get to the bottom of what is causing your baseload

30 KS2 KS3 KS4 KS5 Mathematics and Numeracy Science and Technology
Electricity baseload is the electricity needed to provide power to appliances that keep running at all times. It can be measured by looking at the power a school consumes out of hours when the school is unoccupied. This is one of the most useful benchmarks for understanding a school's electricity use. All schools should aim to reduce their electricity baseload per pupil to that of the best schools. Schools perform roughly the same function so should be able to achieve similar electricity consumption particularly out of hours.

Reducing a school's baseload is one of the fastest ways to reduce energy consumption, and save money and carbon dioxide. For each 1 kW reduction in baseload, the school will reduce its overall electricity consumption by 1 kWh for every hour of the year, so over the whole year the reduction will be 8,760 kWh. If a school is paying 15p per kWh, this reduction could save £1,314 per year, if they are paying 30p per kWh that saving would be £2,628. The school would also reduce its carbon footprint by about 1,700 kg CO2 (Government conversion factors for 2022).

Aim of the investigation

As baseload is the electricity needed to provide power to appliances that keep running at all times, it should be relatively simple to work out what is causing it. Assuming that the baseload at your school is mostly caused by things that should be left on.

1) Start by making a note of all the things that SHOULD be left on at all times - fridges, freezers, servers. Record these on our baseload audit tool. You will need to make a local copy of this tool in order to add your school's details. We've suggested some approximate energy consumption for a number of pieces of equipment, but you can overwrite them or add more if you know how much power your appliances use.

Then count up all of the things you think should be left on standby. Assuming these are newer than 2013, they should only use a small amount of power, but having a lot of these things will all add up.

The spreadsheet will calculate what you think your baseload should be. How does it compare to the baseload Energy Sparks is measuring?

What else could be missing from your calculations? Go around the school and look for things that use electricity, think about which might get left on overnight, either on purpose or by mistake.

5) Plan for the future, how can you keep your baseload down? If things are left on by mistake, think about how you can stop that happening in the future. Could you add switch off lists to all classrooms? Does your school need new policies to make sure energy consumption is taken into account when buying new equipment? Could timers be fitted to existing equipment such as lights, water coolers and ICT equipment?

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