Big Weekend Switch Off - Energy Sparks X Lets Go Zero

Give your school's power the weekend off with our guide to this top climate action.

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Did you know that on average 60% of the power (electricity and gas) that a school consumes is used when the school is shut to pupils and staff!  That's a crazy amount of waste - imagine putting 60% of your chocolate bar straight in the bin!  That means most school use more energy powering their buildings over holidays, evenings and weekends rather than for teaching kids. 

Making sure your school switches off for the weekend is one way to really cut energy waste, as well as starting some fantastic energy efficient behaviours that will benefit you, your school and the planet!

To run a Big Weekend Switch Off:

  • Create a switch off list for your school. This can be one big switch off list for the school or one per classroom / area of the school.   
  • Think about what you should include on your switch off list.   You can get some ideas here.
  • Make sure that you involve pupils.   Pupils can take responsibility for turning off lights or screens that they know are not in use.  This activity is a great way of making sure pupils know what they can and cannot turn off.   
  • Make sure that you involve staff too!  Your teachers and TAs might need a bit of reminding to turn things off at the wall but the most important people to involve in a weekend shut down will be your caretaker and cleaners.  Talk to them about what they can do to help the school switch off for the weekend.
  • Place the list somewhere where it's visible. It needs to be obvious and easy to find, like by the door of the classroom. Then decide who is responsible for switching things off. It might be the last person to leave the classroom or you might want to appoint a classroom monitor to do the switch off.
  • If people are going to be using the school during the weekend, find out where they will be and any equipment they need leaving on. Try to switch off everything that isn’t absolutely essential.

If you're an Energy Sparks school* make sure you record your activities.  Log in to find links to the activities you might be able to record for the Big Weekend Switch Off!

You might want to analyse your electricity or gas data to see how much energy you saved by switching everything off this weekend.    If you're an Energy Sparks school this will be easy.  If you're not, follow these easy steps:
  • Read your energy meters at the end of the day on Friday and first thing on Monday morning. If you can, try to do this the weekend before your big switch off and then compare with the Big Weekend Switch Off.   
  • How did you do? Did you find things that were often left on at the end of the week? Did you manage to save energy? What can you learn for next weekend? 
  • Did you manage to switch everything off at the weekend?  If not, why not?  What needs to be left on and why?

Next steps

Could you turn the Big Weekend Switch Off into an Every Night Switch Off?  There's certainly no reason why class computers, projectors and whiteboards need to be powered when pupils aren't in school.  What needs to be left on over night that could be turned off over the weekend?  Check with your Business Manager or Caretaker and see if you can figure out if anything does.

How could you turn the Big Weekend Switch Off into an End of Term Switch Off?  There are definitely some appliances in school that don't need to be kept on over holidays.  Can you and your Caretaker think of what these might be?

To keep going and save more energy from being wasted in your school, why not check out some of the activities in our Get Energised programme.  

* If you're not an Energy Sparks school but are curious about what we do and how we can help your school save money and carbon emissions, head here for more information.

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