Welcome to Energy Sparks!

A Pupil's Introduction to Energy Sparks

Caring for the environment

We all know that it’s important to save energy. In fact it’s been impossible to ignore the headlines telling us to do our bit for the environment, reduce our carbon footprint, and adopt a greener lifestyle. But how many of us know the hard facts as to why we need to change our ways, and why saving energy is so important?

Every time we perform the simplest task that uses energy - from switching on a light to turning on the TV – the natural resource used to create that energy is depleted. And once it’s gone, it’s gone. Fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, which we still depend on to provide much of the world's energy, are a finite resource and will run out sooner than many of us realise.

At the same time as stripping the planet of its natural resources, our energy consumption is also affecting our climate. Each time a fossil fuel is burned, carbon dioxide is released during the process into the atmosphere, changing the Earth’s natural climate and weather systems. The consequences include flooding, diminishing ice caps, droughts and extreme weather conditions.

Why its important to save energy

All of the energy we use at home and school adds up, and much of it is wasted by using too much or not using it wisely. In addition, energy isn't free. Your school, parents and carers need to pay for all the electricity and gas you use. So wasting energy is the same as wasting money - and we know that's not a good idea!

It might seem like children can't do much to help. But every time you turn off a light bulb or close the door to keep the heat in, you're saving energy. You can also help by reminding grown-ups to turn the heat down in the winter, buy energy-smart light bulbs and use appliances the right way. There are lots of easy ways to save energy at school and home - and all those energy-savers add up to a big impact on the environment.

Energy Sparks will show you how much energy your school is using each day. You can use this information to help your school to save energy, and help protect the environment. Energy Sparks will show you how much electricity your school uses for lights, computers and whiteboards, and cooking. It will also show you how much gas your school uses for heating classrooms, halls, corridors, and offices, for cooking and for heating hot water. Some schools, particularly in the countryside do not have a gas supply, so if your school is one of these, you may use electricity for heating rooms and hot water, or other fuels such as oil. Energy Sparks does not provide data for other fuels.

How Energy Sparks can help

Energy Sparks will also give you lots of ideas of activities you could try at your school to save energy. For example you could:

  • Carry out a spot check to see if lights or IT equipment are left on at lunch time.
  • Investigate whether the the school's heating and hot water are switched off during the school holidays
  • Monitor whether staff and pupils are wearing warmer clothes inside the school building during the winter, rather than turning up the heating
  • Monitor whether outside doors and windows are closed during cold weather
  • Design posters and signs to spread the energy-saving message
  • Make a video about saving energy
  • Organise a switch-off campaign at school
  • And lots more!

Score points

For each activity you carry out and record on Energy Sparks, you will get points. You will also be able to compete against other local primary schools to see who can earn the most points and save the most energy.

You can use the Energy Sparks graphs to see how much difference your changes have made to your school's energy use, and even use your maths skills to find out how much money your school has saved.