Before you read the examples below, think about what your focus will be - gas (heating) or electricity. Tackling heating works best from November to April when school heating is usually on high. In warmer, sunnier months you might want to tackle unnecessary lighting campaigns or even a whole school power down, which might encourage teachers to get out of the classroom.
Who do you want to involve? Will this involve all pupils or just one year group? Do you want all school adults to join in. Is this going to involve parents/carers and the wider school community?
Think how you'll promote this - posters on walls and information in the school newsletter will make sure everyone knows about the event and is prepared!
How long will the event last? An hour? An afternoon? A day or a whole week?
What's your impact? Make sure you compare your electricity or gas consumption for your event with a 'normal' period. How much difference did your campaign make to your usage?
Don't forget to tell others about what you did! Get a picture or article in the local newspaper. Share what you've done with the other schools in your area or multi academy trust. Tell us on Twitter!
Hold a 'Switch Off Day' when the school tries to spend the day without using electricity. By switching off electrical appliances for just one day, you can encourage pupils and staff to think about how much energy is used (and wasted) and find ways to reduce your school’s energy consumption.
Items to turn off: Lights, Computers, Whiteboards, Monitors, Printers, Photocopiers, Projectors, Laminators, Sound systems, Microwaves, Kettles, Toasters. You may consider asking catering staff to reduce their energy usage by making a cold/picnic lunch and snacks.
Step 1: Audit your school to find out how many electrical appliances are used. Which ones could be turned off for the day? Step 2: Tell everyone about the Switch Off day. Explain the reasons for doing it. Step 3: Decide which appliances will be switched off. There may be exceptions e.g. office staff may need to use telephones and computers. Label them as essential to ensure they are not switched off. Step 4: Plan electricity free lessons and activities for the day. Outdoor spaces and resources may need to be timetabled. Step 5: Spread the word and remind everyone about your switch off day by using assemblies, posters, newsletters and blogs to engage children and adults.
Run a No Energy Hour when all electricity and gas usage is stopped across the school. You may need to check with your IT support about the impact on servers, and timetable the No Energy hour so office staff can plan other tasks, and to avoid meal preparation in the school kitchen. Some schools find the last hour of the school day works well. Ensure doors and windows are closed to retain heat.
Run a ‘100 Club Challenge’, where families are challenged to reduce their electricity use to under 100kWh a week. Those who are successful are celebrated in assembly and receive a special certificate designed by pupils. You can also have a ’50 club’ for your super savers. This challenge communicates a strong message in school and at home that we can save both money and the environment if we reduce our energy. Pupils can monitor families' energy use either via their home Smart meters, or by taking manual meter readings at the start and end of the week.
Run a Love your Jumper or Power Down Layer Up day or week, where classroom temperatures are turned down to 18C, and everyone is asked to come to school wearing a jumper, cardigan, sweatshirt or fleece that they feel comfortable wearing indoors. Wearing a jumper can give you an extra 3C heat, and for every 1C you reduce the classroom temperature you save the school about 10% of its heating costs. An average primary school uses about £5,000 of gas per year. Think how much you might save, if you reduced the temperature in your school by 2C.
Step 1: Monitor classroom temperatures for a week prior to your Love your Jumper Week. Record how many children and teachers wear jumpers or similar in the classroom in the same week. Step 2: Tell everyone about the Love your Jumper week. Explain the reasons for doing it. Step 3: Adjust the heating thermostats at the start of the week. Step 4: Monitor classroom temperatures during the week, and compare energy use using the Energy Sparks charts. Step 5: Share how much energy was saved during the week using assemblies, posters, newsletters and blogs to engage children and adults. Step 6: Agree a long term policy for classroom temperatures.