With your Eco Team or class review the energy usage charts displayed on https://energysparks.uk/schools. Here are some questions to think about while you are looking at the charts:
Do you know what gas is used for at your school?
Is it used for heating the building and hot water, and cooking in the school kitchen?
Does gas heat all of your school, or just some buildings or areas?
How much does gas consumption reduce at the weekend or in the school holidays? Compare a daily usage chart for a week in term time and a week in the school holidays.
During the summer time, when the school heating should be turned off, how much gas does the school still use?
Can you compare gas use with the weather across one week? Record the outside temperature in the morning, at lunchtime and in the afternoon each day during the week, and compare your readings with gas use. Does gas use increase if the weather gets colder? You may need to do this experiment for several weeks to get significant variation in outside temperatures.
Compare the hourly usage charts for different days. Are there times of day when no gas is used? These are most likely to be overnight, although during very cold weather some heating may be necessary overnight to prevent the school pipes from freezing.
When are the times of day when most gas is used? What is happening then? Is there a peak in gas use across lunchtime, if gas is used for cooking in the school kitchens? During the winter there will also be a peak in gas use in the morning as the school heats up ready for the pupils and teachers to arrive.
How much does electricity consumption reduce at the weekend or in the school holidays? Compare a daily usage chart for a week in term time and a week in the school holidays.
Can you work out what electricity is used for at the weekends and the school holidays? Can you write a list of all the equipment which might be left on outside of school hours, and then investigate whether they can be switched off?
Can you investigate why some school days use less electricity than others?
Do you see a reduction in electricity when some classes are out of school on a trip?
Compare the hourly usage charts for different days. Can you identify the school baseload for electricity consumption? This will be the level overnight, which will remain almost the same each day. Can you think of ways to reduce this level? Relook at the baseload at the end of the competition and see if your changes have made a difference.
When are the peaks in electricity use? Do they mostly occur at the same time each day? Why do you think these occur? Think about food being prepared in the school kitchens, dishwashers running, kettles running in the staff room, photocopiers running, hot water heating switching on, electric heating .....
Can you think of ways to reduce the peaks in electricity use?
Your Eco team or class should review the energy use charts regularly to see how you are doing. You could set aside some time each week to look at changes. Don't forget to enter it as a new activity and earn more Energy Sparks points each time you review your charts! You could record some of your observations each time you enter it as a new activity.