Here are some issues you could discuss with the Business Manager:
- The School Business Manager will be able to tell you about your school's energy tariff. The school is likely to be charged a rate per kWh, so the energy bill increases as the school uses more electricity and gas, and a standing charge per day, which they must pay regardless of whether they use any gas or electricity. Can you calculate the school's energy bill for the last 2 weeks for which you have data on the Energy Sparks site?
- Different energy companies charge different rates. Can you find out how often the Business Manager checks to see if the school is on the best rate? Does your school buy into the Bath and NE Somerset Council Energy buying scheme? Does the Business Manager use the Bath and NE Somerset Council Systems Link site to monitor energy use?
- How old is the school boiler? Is it serviced each year? A regularly serviced boiler can save as much as 10% on annual heating costs.
- Is there insulation in the school loft or walls? 25% of a building’s heat will escape via an uninsulated roof, which adds hundreds of pounds per year to heating bills. Insulating any roof spaces and unfilled external cavity walls is an effective and inexpensive way of reducing heat losses. Check insulation is in good condition and replace if required. Unfortunately many school buildings have flat roofs and single external walls making insulation measures more difficult, disruptive and costly. Improvements to these are most cost effective during refurbishment projects and should always be considered when the opportunity arises.
- Are all the windows and doors single, double or triple glazed?
- Does the school have a budget for energy improvement measures such as new energy efficient lighting, insulating hot water pipes, or better heating controls? Could the PTA be approached to fundraise to cover the cost of some energy saving measures?
- Could the school install plug-in seven-day timers to reduce the likelihood of communal equipment such as photocopiers, and printers being left on overnight or over the weekend? These only cost a few pounds from DIY shops.
- Has the school ever looked at installing a renewable energy source? The energy sources most likely to be suitable for schools are: • Solar energy (to generate hot water and electricity) • Wind energy (to generate electricity to use on-site or export to the National Grid) • Biomass (sometimes called organic energy or biofuels, and mostly used to generate heat).