Energy Sparks for Multi-Academy Trusts
Energy Sparks provides an online energy analysis tool and energy education programme specifically designed to help schools reduce their electricity and gas usage through the analysis of smart meter data. Energy Sparks can help Multi-Academy Trusts meet their carbon saving targets, democratise access to schools’ energy data and empower school staff and students with taking no and low cost action to reduce their school’s carbon footprint.
Energy Sparks is a registered charity working for the public benefit to develop and promote tools, services and programmes to reduce energy and resource consumption and carbon emissions. Energy Sparks aims to educate the public, particularly young people, about the causes and impacts of climate change, and the importance of energy saving and reducing carbon emissions.
Energy Sparks is currently working with 373 schools.
See our For Schools page to find out more.
"The Energy Sparks website is very easy to use, and the children have found it interesting to measure how energy is used differently in different parts of the school… The children are motivated by the competitive element as well as the desire to save money and energy…"
Pensford Primary School, Bath
Energy Sparks provides a school comparison and benchmarking tool to allow portfolio analysis of schools in Multi-Academy Trust groups or across the whole Energy Sparks portfolio. This tool compares performance against a range of benchmarks including per pupil and per floor area, school holiday consumption and heating start time, and is a powerful means of identifying the worst performing schools to target with additional support and the best performing schools to feature in case studies.
The tool can also provide easy to access information to support Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) obligations.
Most schools participating with Energy Sparks can expect to achieve energy savings of around 10% in their first year of engagement with Energy Sparks, resulting in cost savings of around £2500 and 8 tonnes of CO2 based on an average 2 form entry primary school. Energy Sparks' best performing schools have achieved savings of up to 30%, generally by reducing school holiday, weekend and overnight heating use and cutting their electricity baseload. Examples of savings achieved at participating schools are provided in the Energy Sparks' Case Studies.
Energy Sparks needs access to the school's half hourly energy consumption data from their Half-Hourly (HH), Automated Meter Reading (AMR) or Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETS2) smart meters.
Energy Sparks can act as a motivator for more schools to get smart/AMR meters installed where these meters are not already installed. Any additional cost to install SMETS2/AMR meters is normally off-set by the benefits of transparency of the school’s energy consumption, and the resulting savings potential. Energy Sparks focuses on no cost and low cost savings first, with most schools having the potential to cut consumption by up to 30% without significant capital expenditure. This means many schools can recoup the cost of smart meters within a few weeks of use.
I initially got involved with Energy Sparks as I thought it would inspire the children to be more eco-aware. Little did I realise back then how much we would be saving now! …We should be able to save £800 annually so that's over £15 extra per child per year - all thanks to Energy Sparks.
Federation of Bishop Sutton and Stanton Drew Primary Schools, Bath and NE Somerset
Energy Sparks normally obtains energy data direct from the energy supplier or meter data collector (DC/DA).
Where schools purchase energy through a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) contract, Energy Sparks will normally need a Letter of Authority and a list of the relevant meter numbers provided by the MAT. Where schools purchase energy through a Local Authority contract, Energy Sparks will normally need a Letter of Authority provided by the Council energy team. Sometimes, the Local Authority can set up automated data reports to Energy Sparks through their own supplier portal access. Where schools have alternative purchasing arrangements, they will normally provide their own Letter of Authority.
Each individual school will also provide permission for us to access and publish their energy data as part of their account set up, alongside confirming agreement with our Terms and Conditions.
Energy Sparks' funding and support from central government and charitable trusts and foundations currently provides free access for the first 30 state schools (maintained and academies) in any Local Authority area. We expect funded schools to want to engage with the tool and programme.
Funding covers all aspects of our service for state schools except for on-site energy audits which are a chargeable extra. Funded education workshops and virtual audits are limited and subject to availability.
The school’s energy supplier may charge a small additional fee to provide the school’s energy data to Energy Sparks. If applicable, this cost is normally added to the school’s energy bill.
In addition to supporting access to the school’s energy data, the MAT office will be expected to support Energy Sparks with school recruitment using marketing materials provided by Energy Sparks. Energy Sparks is most impactful when it is linked with other sustainability focused activities ongoing across your MAT. Energy Sparks can often present to MAT sustainability groups or other appropriate forums.