Introduce a policy on switching off lights, computers, and other information technology equipment

30 Whole-school activities KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5

Lighting Switch-Off
Many schools have the benefit of large windows enabling adequate natural daylight to enter rooms. Despite this, lights are often left on when not required and window space may be obstructed with posters and displays of pupils’ work, which reduces the amount of daylight. The steps below will help you to make best use of natural daylight, reducing your reliance on artificial lighting. Use these suggestions to help write  a school policy on switching off lights.

  1. Inspect your windows around the school. Can you move posters, displays and furniture to allow better light into classrooms, offices, and corridors?
  2. Nominate a pupil per classroom to act as the lighting monitor; this can be done by your Energy Team or by individual teachers. A new monitor can be nominated each day or each week. 
  3. Task the lighting monitors to keep an eye on the level of daylight throughout the school day; if there is an adequate amount of daylight to work comfortably, the lighting monitor should switch off the lights. 
  4. Working with the teacher, the lighting monitor should also ensure the best use of blinds. For example, vertical blinds can be altered to direct sunlight away from computer  screens and whiteboards whilst still allowing diffuse daylight to enter the room. Try to avoid the situation where blinds are closed and lights are on. 
  5. The lighting monitor should ensure that lights are switched off when the room becomes unoccupied, and that others are encouraged to do the same. 
  6. Also ensure that windows are clear from posters and pupils’ work, which blocks natural daylight. 

 Information Technology Equipment Switch-Off
Use these suggestions to help write a school policy on switching off Information Technology.
  1. With your Energy Team, identify all Information Technology equipment throughout the school. List each item, including its location. Record if it is felt that the equipment is sometimes left running unnecessarily. 
  2. Allocate each item a colour using a traffic light coding system: (shapes can also be used to assist those that may be colour blind). Green indicates equipment which should be switched off when not in use (for example, PCs, projectors and interactive whiteboards). Amber highlights equipment which should be switched off after ensuring that no-one is using it (for example, the main office computer). Red Do not touch. Equipment which should not be switched off (for example, a server or a fridge). 
  3. Place a coloured sticker onto the on/off switches and plugs of each item of Information Technology equipment and communicate to all school users that they should look to switch off equipment unless it is marked red. 

 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. 

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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