With the school summer holidays just around the corner, now is the time to prepare for energy saving during this dormant period. According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), a large school could waste over €1,000 on electricity alone over the summer. This article lays out some practical hints and tips to help your school cut unnecessary energy wastage and save money this summer.
1. Shut Down Electrical Equipment
Modern schools use a wide range of electrical equipment and it’s important to switch off as much of it as possible when the school closes for the summer holidays. As a first step, you should identify all of the school’s electrical devices and earmark the ones that will not be needed during the holidays. A typical list would include all computers, screens, photocopiers, printers, fax machines, scanners, shredders, projectors, smart boards, TVs, DVD players, amplifiers, stereos, public address systems, etc.
When it’s time to close-up for the summer, use this list to systematically work your way through the school, switching off all the devices. It’s a little-known fact that electrical devices continue to use energy when in standby mode (often up to 20% of their normal usage), so you need to ensure that the electrical equipment is completely switched off. Wherever possible, devices should either be unplugged or switched off at the electrical socket.
It’s important to note that not all electrical equipment should be switched off for the summer break. Equipment such as access and security control, fire detection and alarms, emergency exit signs and security cameras, etc. are all essential during the summer months and should NOT be switched off.
2. Switch Off Hot Water Boilers and Heaters
Many schools use local electric water heaters, which should be turned off during the summer months. These are often hidden in cupboards, under sinks or in storerooms and can usually be turned off via a wall switch close to the heater.
While your school’s space heating will probably already be switched off given that it’s summer, be sure to check. In your school’s boiler house confirm that all space heating pumps are turned off.
Boilers used for heating water for tea/coffee in staff rooms should also be switched off and drained.
3. Conserve Water
Schools can waste a huge amount of water during the summer months. You should ensure that all taps are fully closed. Urinals that flush automatically after a set period should be switched off at the cistern to avoid waste.
Holidays are also a great time to test for water leaks. Take a meter reading when the holiday commences and then take another a few days later. If the reading has increased this is indicative of a leak, which will warrant further investigation.
For more information on water conservation in schools, check out our blog post on the subject.
To give you an idea of the amount of energy your various electrical devices consume, Electric Ireland has designed a free app that’s available for download. Click here for more information.
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