Pupils investigate how the school's hot water is heated

10 Investigating energy usage KS1, KS2, KS3

Do you know how and when hot water is heated at your school? There are several possible options, some of which are more energy efficient than others. Some of the options are:
  1. Point of use water heaters attached to each hot tap in your toilets, classrooms and kitchens. These supply small amounts of hot water on demand. 
  2. Electric immersion heaters either centrally or in each toilet, classroom or kitchen.
  3. Gas or oil boilers heating hot water stored in a hot water tank
Talk to your caretaker, site manager  or business manager to find out how water is heated in your school. 

How to save energy when heating water?
  1. Ask your caretaker to help you find the time switches for your electric immersion heaters. Make sure these are only set to run from 8am to 3pm. If your storage tanks are large you might find you can turn off the immersion heater at 2pm or earlier and still have enough hot water left for the rest of the school day.
  2. Check your hot water is switched off at the weekend and during school holidays. You may need to change from 24 hour timers to 7 day timers to achieve this reliably, but it can be an easy way to save lots of energy.
  3. Adjust gas and oil boiler controls so that hot water is only heated Monday to Friday in term time. 
  4. If your heating system boilers also provide hot water in the summer, ensure that the minimum number of boilers operate for hot water provision and that all heating system pumps are switched off and valves closed.
  5. Tanks and their distribution pipework should be well insulated to avoid heat loss.
  6. Wasting hot water penalises a school twice: once for the energy used to heat the water and again for the actual water used. Fit taps which turn off automatically and deal with dripping taps and leaks promptly.
  7. Consider providing cleaning staff with point-of-use water heaters for use during holidays.
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