What is Energy Sparks?

Energy Sparks is a community built and run service.

Our goal is to help support our local schools in become more energy efficient

Energy Sparks is a free to use service for schools in Bath & North East Somerset. It has developed out of an ongoing project co-ordinated by Transition Bath which aims to help schools become more energy efficient.

The key goal of Energy Sparks is to support and encourage schools to make long term changes to their energy consumption.

The Transition Bath project has already demonstrated that behavioural change in schools can lead to a 20% reduction in electricity consumption. This can result in big savings for the schools and numerous environmental benefits.

The service has been developed by a team of experts, developers and volunteers from across the community. We believe that a community lead approach is best placed to create real impact.

Read more about the origin and goals of the project from our partners and sponsors:

What does the service do?

Energy Sparks generates simple charts and summaries of gas and electricity usage

The service builds a record of achievement that could help a school gain Eco-School status

Local schools already have smart meters installed which regularly collect details of their gas and electricity usage. This data is already aggregated into existing platforms that support metering and billing, but currently little use is made of the data to help reduce energy consumption.

Many B&NES schools are working towards an Eco-schools award. To earn their Green Flag award, schools working on the Energy topic need to demonstrate that they have involved the whole-school in reducing their energy use, including using energy data with pupils as part of the curriculum.

Energy Sparks supports schools by:

  • Presenting simple charts and summaries of energy usage data, suitable for use by teachers, parents and pupils
  • Providing a means to record activities taken to reduce consumption, building up a record that can demonstrate progress towards Eco-School status
  • Turning behavioural change into a game, to engage pupils in scoring points and unlocking awards for their school

The service is free to use and also provides a variety of resources that can help schools take effective action.

How is the service funded?

Energy Sparks was originally funded by a £7,000 grant from the Open Data Institute

We will be looking for further funding in 2017

Energy Sparks is a primarily volunteer-led project. Developers and energy experts from across the local community have devoted their time and energy to make Energy Sparks a reality.

In September 2016 the Open Data Institute (ODI) awarded the project a £7,000 grant to develop the proof-of-concept application into a beta service that can be trialed by local schools.

The ODI grant has been used to fund development of the application and running costs through until the end of 2017.

The service is operated by Bath: Hacked and draws on their community-owned open data platform to host the energy usage data.

The project is looking for additional funding in 2017 to:

  • Develop and run a competition for local schools to encourage them to adopt and use the service
  • Cover costs for further application development and creation of open educational resources
  • Support the ongoing running costs of the application

If you are able to support the project then please email us!

How can I get involved?

We want teachers, parents and pupils to be involved with the project

We are looking for developers to help us develop the application further

If you are a governor, parent or teacher from one of the local schools who are eligible to join the beta programme, then we'd like to get you enrolled. Please read through the guidance and then email us to discuss next steps and any questions.

If you want to contribute to the development and running of the service then take a look at our github project. This is where we are co-ordinating development of the application, including adding new features, bug fixes and testing.

If you are interested in running Energy Sparks outside of Bath & North East Somerset then please get in touch. We're keen to help other local groups setup and run the service for the benefit of their local schools.

What is open data?

Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share

Open data enables schools and the local community to work together

Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share. By making data available under an open licence, governments, cities and organisations around the world are able to collaborate to solve a variety of environmental, social and economic problems.

In Bath & North East Somerset, Bath: Hacked are working with the council, local organisations and community groups to unlock the value of open data. This involves creating maps, applications and services that use open data to help us be better informed about our local area.

By sharing their energy usage data with the community, local schools can tap into a wealth of local expertise that can unlock insights from that data. Energy Sparks is an example of the type of service that can be built on open data by local communities to collaboratively address local issues.

Read more about the open data we use.