Action on Carbon and Energy in Schools (ACES)

Saving energy during the school holidays

Schools are always using some energy for essentials, such as security systems. However, half terms and holidays, when there are no staff or students in the buildings, are an opportunity to make sure non-essentials are switched off. Reviewing school switch off will help save carbon, energy and money. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

Ensure the school is not being heated as usual during the holidays and half terms. During the winter, this might mean putting the heating on a frost setting until the day before staff return. 

Check if there are holiday activities taking place during the shutdown that will require the heating to be on. Put procedures in place to ensure that heating, lighting and other appliances used during these activities are switched off again. If the school has different heating zones, make sure that only the required areas are heated. If possible, arrange activities in one zone of the school so the whole site does not need to use energy. 

Carry out a final day shutdown walkthrough before the break starts, checking that all windows are closed, and all the following are turned off: 

  • Lights 
  • Electric point of use hot water heaters 
  • Photocopiers 
  • Printers 
  • Computers 
  • Display screens 
  • Any other non-essential appliances 

Monitor electricity and fossil fuel use over the holidays and half terms to see how much is used. Arrange for someone to take readings as you leave for the break and when you first arrive back for the new term. Compare the kWh used per day or per week during the break compared to your typical term time usage. Let staff and students know about the savings made. 

Schools are very busy; missing switch off checks can happen. Try to make energy checks a habit at the end of each term. 

ACES would love to hear if you have saved more than normal over the holidays – let us know what made the biggest difference for you! 

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