Pupils meet with the office staff to discuss their role in saving energy

10 Spreading the message KS1, KS2, KS3

Here are some energy saving tips related to office equipment which you could discuss with the school office  staff:

  • ICT equipment is one of the largest single users of electricity in many schools. Find out when office staff "Turn off and power down". Switch off all equipment when not in use and enable power down modes to reduce energy consumption and heat production. This will also reduce the risk of overheating in a space, therefore improving staff comfort. Equipment should last longer which could mean lower maintenance costs and fewer breakdowns.
  • Install plug-in seven-day timers . These only cost a few pounds from most DIY stores and reduce the likelihood of machines being left on out of hours. They are best fitted to communal equipment such as photocopiers and  printers,  that can be switched off when not in use. 
  • Match the equipment to the task . Set default printing to double-sided (duplex) where possible and try to print in batches to allow the machine to spend more time on standby or off, than in idling mode. Take care though; machines with a very deep sleep mode can take longer to reach the right temperature, frustrating users and increasing the risk of the feature being disabled.
  • Relocate heat-emitting equipment. Place heat-emitting equipment such as printers and photocopiers in a separate, naturally-ventilated area with good airflow. This helps prevent overheating, removes potential emissions from the equipment and reduces the effect of noise. Cooler areas on the north side of buildings are ideal. 
  • Purchase for your requirements. Choose equipment that meets current and predicted requirements. Do not over-specify. high specification PCs with large screens and fast processors use more energy. Always take running costs into account. Ensure all new equipment has energy saving features meeting at least ‘energy star’ performance specifications.
    See the Carbon Trust Office equipment technology overview (CTV005) for further information. 
  • Consider upgrading existing PCs. Some computers can simply be upgraded with newer, more energy efficient components. Look into this option before purchasing new machines. Flat screen (LCD) monitors can reduce monitor energy use by over 65%. There are also obvious space advantages and they are more attractive to use.
ICT equipment hints – be PC wise
Activate the standby mode: Most PCs have an  in-built standby mode. When the PC is not in use but left on, the PC can power down to a low energy mode. Time to power down can be preset, and usually 15 minutes is appropriate.  On average nine out of ten PCs do not have the standby mode enabled so it may be worth doing a full audit on your ICT suite. Standby should only be used during lessons and when equipment is being used intermittently. After lessons or at the end of the working day, equipment should be completely switched off.
Switch off monitors: This will save over 60% of the energy used by a PC during break times and when it is not required for a particular lesson.
Screen savers don’t save: Screen savers are designed to increase the operating life of the screen – NOT to save energy. If a screen saver is complex and colourful it may actually use more energy than operating in normal working conditions, while inhibiting the power-saving features of the computer.

Did you know?
A single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day will cost around £45 a year. Switching them off out of hours and enabling standby features could reduce this to less than £10 a year each and prolong the lifespan of equipment. You could save enough energy to make 30 teachers 6 cups of coffee every day.

Myth : When equipment is on standby, it’s off.
Reality : Many people assume electrical products are off when they are on standby, yet in this mode they continue to consume power. Be especially wary of equipment that has a remote control – this is a telltale sign that the equipment is likely to be left on standby while waiting for the ‘on’ signal from the remote. A red or green LED light is another sign.

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