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CAN and Schools
Several CAN members have been actively working with schools to help them reduce their energy usage, so that they save on their bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
We undertake an energy audit by plugging every appliance into a hand held meter (such as the one pictured) to measure how much electricity all the appliances such as photocopiers or refrigerator uses. We also count up all the lights and calculate the electricity they use. We enter all this information into a spreadsheet and input the length of time the items are used for. The figures will start to reflect the electricity used as itemized in the schools bill. Once we know where all the energy is going, we can start to think of some solutions to reduce the consumption of high energy users.
Typical wasteful uses in schools have been:
- Instant ZIP style hot water services which are left on 24 hours, 365 days per year
- Poorly installed equipment such as computers which can’t be individually switched off and consume standby power
- Over lit classrooms
- Security lights which are poorly positioned and the timer function has been bypassed
- Glass fronted refrigerators in the canteen which use four times the electricity of a regular fridge.
- Items of equipment that are no longer necessary such as a paper warmer but have not been switched off or removed
The schools have been delighted that we are helping them save money and greenhouse gas emissions - all for free of course!
Newcastle East Public School – an energy audit report completed by Ben Ewald calculated the school could reduce energy consumption by 43% without reducing the utility of the buildings (download here). They also want to build a wind turbine and are currently writing a funding submission.
Hamilton Public School – an electricity audit report completed by Ian Wilcox & Roger Reece (download here), found that school had 11 fridges with many underutilized.
Resources:The following resources have been helpful in compiling the energy audits and determining the solutions:
Each school is eligible for a grant up to $55,000 under the National Solar Schools program -
The first thing the school should do is register for the program, then they will be told how much they have to spend. (Some schools might be reduced if they have spent money on water tanks, it depends on whether they used Green Vouchers or not).
Additionally High Schools maybe eligible for additional NSW Government funding of up to $18,000 under this program http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/grants/ssep.htm
We have found many of the solutions cost little or nothing and just require a little common sense. Examples of this include turning off under used appliances, appointing electricity monitors in the classroom who turn off the lights at lunch time. Using 7 day timers which cost only $15 on appliances.
The National Solar Schools program requires the school to install a 2 kilowatt photovoltaic solar system which cost in the region of $22,000. The remaining fund can be spent on energy efficiency items such as skylight, awnings, high efficiency lights (a full list is provided here - http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/renewable/nationalsolarschools/guidelines/index.html
We have been using the following meter from ATA: http://shop.ata.org.au/cart.php?target=product&product_id=16518&category_id=255
Roger Reece has come up with an easy to use spreadsheet which can be adapted for your school and contains instructions in the file. It will automatically produce graphs and charts. Download it here.
Energy toolbox - a great site which provides both educational resources and good source of ideas for the energy manager - http://www.energy-toolbox.vic.gov.au/energy_toolbox/schools_information.html