5Star Module - EnergyYour school usesenergy for lighting, heating and cooling systems and appliances as well as for hot water systems, and office equipment. Because you can measure, monitor and manage how much energy your school uses and how much it costs, you find ways to save energy at school. That means your school community can take the necessary steps to effectively manage energy consumption, save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Most schools can save between 10-15% on energy costs through better energy management*. If the school invests in energy efficient technology, savings of up to 40% are achievable. That's good for your school's budget and the environment.
For the best results, get everyone in your school community committed and involved - the principal, teachers, students, parents and anyone else interested.
In what ways are you saving electricity and gas around your school, reducing your greenhouse gas emissions and managing the air quality? In this section you'll find information on where to start and practical tips on what you can do to help make your school energy smart.
Energy Module Tool and Checklist
The Energy Module Tool is for anyone planning to take on the Energy Module as part of ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic 5Star Sustainability Certification (5Star). The tool outlines the practices required for your school to successfully complete the Energy Module as part of 5Star. Use it to work your way through the module and to help review, evaluate, set baseline information and monitor your school's progress in becoming a ResourceSmart School.
The Energy Checklist will help provide an audit of what your school is already doing and where there may be opportunities for further actions.
Certification checklists are available for download on the 5Star Sustainability Certification page.
In the energy resources section you will find a range of resources relevant to early years, and primary and secondary schools. These websites and tools will help support you in your ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic journey and will help your school and community to take action.
Where to start
The steps below will help you see where your school is at in terms of being energy smart. It's also the first step in your journey to reach for the stars with ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic 5Star Sustainability Certification.
1. Understand energy and how to monitor and manage it
Learning the basics about energy as well as skills to monitor and manage your schools energy use is a good place to start in the journey to become energy smart. Take a look at some of the documents at the bottom of this page. They include guides to help you:
- understand your energy bill
- read an electricity meter
- use a lux meter
- use an energy meter
- understand Best Practice guidelines
2. Assess your school's current energy use
Working out your school's current energy use will help you set a benchmark. Once done, you can then monitor for changes and see how you're tracking in becoming a more energy smart school.
Start by reviewing your energy bills. Get together the last three years worth of school water bills (ie the last 12 bills received). Then, enter the bills into either an Excel sheet or SETS (School Environment Tracking System). If you transfer the data into a graph you can start to analyse:
- if energy consumption has gone up or down
- how much energy your school used per student per year in the last 12 months
- how this result compares with the ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic goals of
- Primary 250 kWh per year per student
- Secondary: 400 kWh per year per student.
3. Complete an energy audit
Having an audit done on your school's energy use will help you get a complete picture of your school's current energy situation.
To run a preliminary audit, why not draw on the skills of your students? They can use the templates available as part of the curriculum resources on the energy resources page.
For a more detailed audit, energy efficiency consultants will be able to help. If you hire the expertise of an expert there's an Australian Standard for energy audits that recognises three levels. When you're hiring a professional energy auditor, it's important that you find out to what standard they'll be auditing to.
- Level 1 or 'Walk-through' Audit - this is a simple exercise that provides an overview, and directions for further investigation.
- Level 2 or Standard Energy Audit - this is a reasonably detailed investigation of energy supply and use, and should provide clear recommendations for energy and cost-saving measures, along with the costs and benefits of each.
- Level 3 or Detailed Energy Audit - this should provide all the above but with a much greater level of accuracy. It will often mean needing to install sub-meters.
4. Create an action plan
Once you have your school's benchmark, and have done an audit, you'll be closer to knowing where improvements can be made. Work together with staff and students to create both an action plan and a timeline with priorities. Think about:
- what actions your school can take to reduce its energy use
- what your school's goals for the next 12 months are.
The Guide to Energy Management for Primary and Secondary Schools on the energy resources page will help you with your planning.
5. Monitor and record energy use
Maintain your records on energy use. This will provide a quantitative measure of the success of your energy management program. This history will give you valuable information for reporting to the school community.
6. Find out who else can help
This website has a wide range of information to help schools make energy efficient changes. There are also a number of organisations and government departments that run competitions, grants, awards, in-kind support, rebates or have free curriculum resources for schools to implement actions to be more energy efficient. Some also offer professional development and leadership opportunities.
Other than your local council some examples include:
- Clean Energy Council
- Origin Energy
- local businesses such as energy audit companies, hardware stores and solar energy suppliers.
Ask parents, students and teachers to help research funding opportunities to help pay for the school's energy audit.
Other schools are also a great resource. Read case studies, make contact. Find out what worked, what didn't work, where they got their funding from and about their favourite curriculum resource. One place to start connecting with other schools might be to find your local teacher environmental network.
7. Make energy part of the curriculum
Sustainability topics around energy provide an opportunity for real, relevant learning. By increasing your students' knowledge and involvement in the school's sustainability vision, students become more responsive, interested and get to share the success.
Make the most of incorporating school decisions, practices and school visitors into the curriculum. There are many curriculum resources available to assist teachers on the energy resources page.
Spread the word on what your school is doing and celebrate your achievements. It will help generate engagement within your school as well as the broader community and can foster discussion and new ideas for being even more energy smart. Some actions you could consider are:
- encouraging teachers and students at your school to be more energy efficient
- reporting your progress about initiatives and research regarding energy in the school newsletter, on the website and to local media
- providing annual progress reports of savings achieved
- recognising people who identify new ideas and initiatives
- celebrating and sharing your story with the wider community.
* Research conducted by the Sustainable Energy Authority which became Sustainability Victoria in 2005.
Top | Last updated 25/02/2013