EiE supporting schools
Providing support to schools and other educational establishments on energy, water, and waste is of particular importance because traditionally there is very little resource to effectively manage efficiency issues. Secondly, as beacons of education, schools, colleges, and universities are uniquely placed to connect their own environmental improvements with the teaching of wider sustainability issues.
The SEEP Network - Implementing energy efficiency in schools is more effective with targeted support
EiE began working in schools on energy efficiency to address the difficulty of transforming basic ideas (eg ‘reducing your lighting’) into specific action. While schools often have the will of staff, students, and governors, the way forward was not clear, particularly as prioritising and detailing energy efficiency actions needs to be a collaborative process. SEEP (The Schools Energy Efficiency Programme) was developed to support both state and independent secondary schools on reducing energy.
SEEP has been supported by a number of partners including:
- The Hamilton Trust
- The Oxfordshire Independent State School Partnership
- Oxfordshire County Council
The SEEP approach
EiE realised that long detailed energy audit reports were not sufficient to make reduction actions in schools actually occur. Instead a longer term relationship with the school was needed as well as a range of support to encourage actions to progress at a speed suitable for organisations where the pupils' needs are at all times paramount.
SEEP has been effective because EiE have applied three main principles:
Communication – The nature of schools can be a whirlwind of conflicting priorities. Strong communication is required to progress actions and ensure the latest information is available. SEEP excels at using EiE's experience in schools to exchange important energy efficiency information.
Networking – SEEP brings schools together to share problems and solutions and encourage working together in ways that are not often afforded.
Continuity – A short term relationship of delivering advice is not appropriate as the dynamic nature of schools requires constant re-visiting of actions. By developing a longer term approach, actions are more likely to respond to what is happening currently, rather than what may have been the case months ago.
Improving the SEEP Network
As many schools are academies (or soon will be), financial resources have become even more scarce. The SEEP Network is a project responding to the financial demands of schools whilst still providing ongoing support to continue implementing energy efficiency actions. EiE have included a range of new communication methods, still based on the principles of strong communication, networking, and continuity.
XX Number of secondary schools supported
XX Savings achieved
Energy circus for students - An interactive event for student to learn about energy efficiency in their schools
One element of SEEP is working with student groups on energy efficiency issues in their school. The Energy Circus was developed to provide a number of student activities that reflect the main energy issues in schools. Activities were designed to compliment current facilities project in a school as well as acknowledging use of energy saving ideas in the home. The circus has proved to be a great way to engage students and take their knowledge of specific energy issues further.
Sustainable laboratories - Embedding resource efficient behaviour in tomorrow's scientists
Laboratories can use a lot of energy as well as producing hazardous waste. Many staff members working in labs are trained at schools and universities across the country. EiE has been developing a programme of monitoring and improvement not only to address issues in particular labs but to engage staff and students on environmental issues.
Energy – laboratories use energy for a number of specific functions such as ventilating fume cupboards, centrifuges, microscopes, as well as refrigerators and freezers. Users have a large impact on the efficient use and management of laboratory equipment with a direct impact on energy use.
Waste – lab work may involve a range chemicals and rare materials requiring hazardous waste treatment. Clinical waste from medical and biological activities also requires segregated collection. User behaviour not only determines legal compliance but affects the environmental impact from laboratory waste.
The programme has two main focuses:
- Monitoring behaviour
Labs, particularly those used for education, are used in a variety of ways that may be particularly difficult to assess for efficiency in energy and waste processes. This phase of the project focuses on developing good monitoring practices so that decision makers and trainers are aware of how processes are working, and have methods to identify opportunities to improve efficiency.
- Behaviour change
The engagement of laboratory users on energy and waste issues can be extremely challenging, especially if very little training on the issues has happened. This phase of the project will provide support for engaging lab users effectively.
For more information on this project, please contact us.