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According to government statistics there are around 32,000 schools in the UK, the vast majority are primary schools and there are around 4,200 secondary schools. There are also over 2,381 independent schools and over 1,256 special schools – that’s a lot of buildings consuming a lot of energy. Utility Bidder is committed to helping all schools save money on their energy bills and as part of our service we are also keen to work with schools in promoting good energy housekeeping.
As the staff or governing body member responsible for energy in the school, reducing energy consumption and therefore spend, should be a key priority and there are numerous organisations and bodies that can help you learn more about saving energy. Your local authority may provide guides or even offer to do an energy audit for your school and that’s often a good place to start.
Once you have moved your school’s gas and electricity provider with Utility Bidder there is a great deal more you can do to see those savings start stacking up. The Carbon Trust say that good energy housekeeping could save UK schools £44 million a year which equates to preventing 625,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
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The national curriculum offers numerous chances to explore environmental and sustainability issues and so schools have a great opportunity not just to engage with staff on the issue, but also with pupils. By explaining how energy usage equates to the school’s carbon footprint and therefore the environment, will help students to buy into what the school is trying to achieve. Each class could have nominated ‘energy monitors’ whose role it is to ensure that lights and electrical equipment are switched off when classrooms are not in use or to switch off taps if they are left running.
Schools use a lot of electrical office and ICT equipment. Remember that anything left on standby continues to use power and a single computer and monitor left on all day costs about £45 a year. Multiply that figure by all your office and ICT items and you can see how the costs soon stack up. Turn off your equipment completely or invest in a cheap plug-in seven-day timer.
Regardless of the age of pupils, there is plenty of scope for them to get involved. All pupils could design posters and stickers about energy wastage, energy usage could be part of a maths lesson, climate change could be discussed in geography and you could even have a competition to see which class or year group is the most energy efficient and then reward best in class at the end of the school year.
As easy as ABC
When it comes to saving money on your school’s hefty gas and electricity bills we advise switching your current utility provider. It’s as easy as ABC to make the move as Utility Bidder will do all the hard work for you. You don’t need to worry about researching providers or getting your head around complicated tariffs as our energy swots have done their homework and have in-depth knowledge of energy providers large and small.
All you have to do is sign a letter of authority which allows us to liaise with providers on your behalf and if you can, you should provide us with a few old bills. That’s it! You are free to carry on doing your day job while we work out who will be the most cost effective provider for your school’s gas and electricity. We will come back to you with our findings and you decide if you would like to make the switch.
We work with several schools around the country and so we are confident we can save your school money just as we have them. These savings can be quite considerable which means money saved on energy bills can be ploughed back into the school budget and used for the things your school really needs. Once you have saved money by switching your energy provider there are many other ways your school can become more energy efficient.
As heating is often the biggest expense, a good place to start your school audit is with the temperature settings. Review the system on a monthly, or ideally a weekly basis, as often the settings are set and then simply forgotten about. The recommended teaching temperature is 18°C but ask staff and pupils to report any areas that routinely feel too hot or too cold.
If your school has an old heating system with inefficient time controls, it may well be worth investing in a compensator which automatically regulates the heating based on the weather. UK weather is unpredictable and it’s not always a case of having one temperature for winter and one for summer and a compensator could save your school thousands of pounds.
Another area of major energy consumption in your school is the kitchen. If you are a secondary school with food technology equipment you should be applying the same energy saving techniques.
Educate kitchen staff on the general principles around saving energy. For example, as most modern catering equipment heats up quickly it’s not necessary to have it switched on for hours before its needed. Keep fridges and freezers in good condition and ideally, they should be kept in a well ventilated space outside of the kitchen itself. Ensure staff close the doors when not in use and defrosting regularly helps them operate at maximum efficiency. If possible, turn off fridges completely during school holidays.
We appreciate that switching your school’s energy provider is a decision that will have to be approved by the governing body. However, be assured that Utility Bidder is a high achiever when it comes to energy brokers. We have a five-star rating on Trust Pilot and we have also won a variety of awards. We work with numerous gas and electricity suppliers, the big six as well as some smaller businesses you may not have heard of, to ensure your school receives the very best price for its gas and electricity prices.
Your school’s current gas and electricity provider will be counting on you to simply roll over your next contract with them, but chances are the prices they will be quoting can be beaten and so all you have to do is challenge Utility Bidder to beat it. You don’t need to wait until your current contract is coming to end to get your new energy costs – in fact, the sooner you ask us to lock in your new and improved price, the better.
Utility Bidder wants to work with your school to save hard cash on what is a considerable outlay – those gas and electricity costs – but we can also look at other utilities too such as water and telecoms.
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It goes without saying that your school has to be well-lit in order to be a safe and effective learning environment. This is an area that can be relatively easy to save money on your school’s electricity costs. Start with the basics by making full use of daylight by investing in daylight blinds. These essentially prevent the glare of sunlight by re-directing it onto the ceiling and letting the natural light come into the classroom.
How often are your schools’ windows and skylights cleaned? Keeping them free of dirt will allow daylight to enter the building more freely and reduce the need for lighting.
One of the best ways to save your school money on lighting is by installing low energy lighting throughout the school estate. Each time you need to replace lighting, replace the standard tungsten light bulb with CFLs which will use 75% less energy. Similarly, fluorescent tubes should be replaced with triphosphor coated ones which give a brighter light.
It’s always best to ensure you liaise with a qualified lighting technician before making any major changes to your school’s lighting but it’s certainly worth it with energy savings of up to 75% available with some types of bulbs.
The great thing of about working with children and young people on this issue is that we are helping the next generation to be energy aware. This will not only save them money on when it comes to running their own homes but will also help them to preserve the planet for their future.
Your school utilities and energy discussions are an opportunity to educate the next generation on developing a greener future. Another area to look at could be recycling. Schools use (and waste) a lot of paper and so having a recycling bin in every classroom and corridor is crucial. Perhaps your school, like many other organizations is opting to go plastic free? Again, this is a great way to get pupils involved and to suggest what plastic items can be replaced with a greener alternative.
Food recycling is also important. What is your kitchen doing with its food waste? Investing in a food composter is a good idea, especially if you have outside space where children can get involved and learn about the process and then how it can be used on the garden.
In these austere times saving money on your school’s utilities is crucial but another great by-product of this also means saving your schoool or academy energy and therefore your carbon footprint. By involving all school stakeholders will ensure that your school is top of the class when it comes to the environment which is always great PR and sends important messages to other schools and businesses in the area.
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