Four Christchurch schools have been chosen to pilot a programme to reduce power use and develop energy efficient practices.
The year-long pilot will help schools understand how they use energy and where they can make changes to both equipment and behaviours that will help them reduce their monthly bills.
The four schools have been selected, they are Linwood North, Cashmere High School, Cashmere Primary and Our Lady of Fatima.
It will be supported by an educational campaign that encourages maximum student participation.
Christchurch Agency for Energy, along with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and the Ministry of Education is funding the pilot programme which is being developed using the successful nationwide Enviroschools Programme, delivered in Christchurch by Environment Canterbury.
The pilot is estimated to cost $90,000 and will test the effectiveness of a range of energy efficiency measures and will be evaluated before a decision is made on offering the programme to schools nationwide.
“We’re pretty excited about this opportunity for Christchurch schools and their communities. We’re expecting that the longer term benefits will include life time changes in attitude as well as short and medium term financial savings. Christchurch has a number of reasons to want to pilot this programme including interest and commitment to energy issues as well as many local schools adjusting to lower rolls and the need to make every dollar count,” said CEO Merv Altments.
The EnergySchools project is one of a number of initiatives EECA is involved in to improve energy efficiency in the public sector. “In these tough economic times saving energy through efficiency will free up much needed cash for schools. I believe that the lessons that pupils will learn from this programme will encourage energy efficient behaviours at home and throughout their lives,’ said EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill.
Ministry of Education spokesperson, Jerome Sheppard said that with focus from students, teachers and school management, low cost savings in the vicinity of 10 to 20% of current energy use could be achieved.
The purpose of Enviroschools is empowering young people to make change. We see significant potential in this pilot for students to make decisions in areas that have traditionally been left to adult experts,” said Heidi Mardon, National Director of The Enviroschools Foundation.
Participating schools may also be able to qualify through EECA for Government funding to help implement energy saving technologies identified through the programme. The four schools out of the 170 in Christchurch will be chosen in the coming weeks.
Analysis carried out by EcoSystems of 20 secondary schools throughout New Zealand, showed that schools' typical energy use can be broken down roughly as follows:
• 50% - heating
• 30% - lighting
• 12% - equipment and appliances
• 8% - water heating.
This can vary - for example, in schools with heated swimming pools, water heating can account for 50% of energy use.
The same research found that energy costs varied greatly. These schools' energy costs varied from $70 to $142 per pupil, per year with the average cost $93. Average energy consumption per m2 of school premises was 87 kWhs (at a cost of around $12 / m2).
The Christchurch pilot will look at behaviour, systems, technology and school energy auditing and run for a year, having a series of defined outputs:
• A well-defined educational and technical process that schools throughout New Zealand could use to reduce energy consumption
• A package of support tools and expertise that can be used by schools throughout New Zealand
• Links with experts, who can support schools to audit, plan and reduce energy consumption
• Analysis of costs versus cost savings to develop a business case for schools
• Increased understanding about the links between school and home energy efficiency
• Sharing ideas that emerge from the pilot will be encouraged by CAfE, as part of assisting schools to adapt to renewable energy and greater use of energy efficiency measures.
• The pilot, delivered by Enviroschools, will use energy saving software eco|DriverTM. This will be installed in all schools involved and supported by training and follow up.
In the United Kingdom, the Department of Education and Skills identified that “up to 20% of energy was being wasted by schools and good housekeeping could reduce energy and water bills by up to 10%.” The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that up to 25% of energy used in a school facility is wasted. They recommend two courses of action; (1) install more efficient equipment and (2) reduce energy consumption by managing behaviour.
Year of Action for Sustainable Schools – TOP TEN TIPS”, United Kingdom Department for Education and Skills, 2007.
“Energy: The Green Remedy for Today’s School Districts”, Jospeh Hallberg, School Business Affairs, July/Aug 2008.