British Gas lead energy revolution

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, has announced British Gas’s role in a £12 million energy efficiency initiative to help schools and pupils to become energy aware.

With immediate effect, all state funded schools in England will be invited to apply for free energy display meters and an education package which will be provided and installed by British Gas.

The energy display meters will provide an accurate real-time reading of how much electricity a school is consuming through their main electrical supply. Schools will be able to use this data to inform decisions about how to make energy savings and encourage long term behaviour change, embedding sustainability throughout the curriculum.

Schools account for around 2% of UK green house gas emissions, with 9.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted annually by schools in England. The energy display meter project has the potential to reduce consumption by 10 to 15%, around 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, and it is estimated that it will save an average 900-pupil secondary school more than £3,000 a year on fuel bills alone.

Alongside the financial benefits, the initiative will also see school children becoming experts in energy efficiency, as pupils will be able to see in real-time on large dashboard displays how their behaviour, such as switching on lights, computers and electrical equipment, affects the school’s electricity use.

The project is being supported by the British Gas Generation Green educational programme which has created a range of learning resources, including lessons plans, which are specifically designed to be used alongside the dashboard displays. Generation Green is British Gas’s nationwide schools programme designed to empower teachers, schools and their local communities to tackle climate change through greener behaviour.

Partnerships for Schools will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of the project, working in conjunction with British Gas, as the selected private sector partner.

Speaking at Pimlico Academy, one of the first schools to sign up to the initiative, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the Rt Hon Ed Balls MP said: “School children of today have a real desire to become the environmental champions of the future and we need to harness this interest. This £12 million investment will enable schools to lead the way on an energy revolution, helping staff to reduce energy consumption, and helping children to better understand the importance of their behaviour in tackling environmental issues.”

Kanat Emiroglu, Managing Director of British Gas Business said: “Building on our market leading position on smart and advanced metering, this major project is an excellent opportunity to combine British Gas’s energy services expertise with our leading environmental schools’ programme, Generation Green. These dash board displays will provide the opportunity for teachers and pupils to learn about climate change, energy efficiency and carbon budgeting in an exciting and interactive way, whilst also allowing schools to manage and reduce their energy costs.”

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has a long term goal for schools to be sustainable by 2020. The Zero Carbon Task Force was set up in 2008 to advise on how best to achieve this and two key recommendations made by the Task Force in March 2009 were the use of energy display meters and a comprehensive awareness campaign to help change energy efficiency behaviour in schools.

For more information, schools can visit www.teachernet.gov.uk/energydisplaymeter

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