An education in energy busting

Celebrations as nearly 400 schools complete a National Trust and Norfolk County Council scheme to become fit for future.

It was celebratory cups of tea and cake all round as 399 schools crossed the finish line of a five-year scheme to become Energy Busters.

The programme for infant, primary, secondary and special educational needs schools was set up by the National Trust and Norfolk County Council in 2008. The aim was to help schools and pupils create their own fun and ‘whole school’ approach to become more energy efficient – and it worked.

Small changes have made big savings

Through small changes like switching off computer screens, closing windows and doors and even handing out energy report cards to teachers (who really should know better!), pupils were able to make a big difference on their energy use.

Energy Busters in action,  credit Miranda Campbell

Energy Busters in action

After four years, the schools on the Energy Busters programme were using 14 per cent less energy than schools not taking part. This has meant more cash for learning and resources, with primary schools saving £340 per year on average, and secondary schools making average savings of £7,250.

But it’s not just the schools that have benefited. Because they are responsible for 78 per cent of Norfolk County Council’s carbon emissions, the schools’ collective energy saving is set to save the council £1.8m on energy bills each year.

A lesson for the experts

Miranda Campbell, our environmental advisor for the East of England, said she has been struck by how the programme empowered pupils to make changes, and was impressed by the new confidence and skills that the children developed during the project. Miranda even learned a few new tips herself from their innovative ideas.

“My two favourites are traffic light stickers on appliances so people know whether they can turn them off or not, and marking kettles which tell you the number of cups of tea they hold,” she said.

“We’re now doing both of these in our regional office, although an alternative suggestion for the kettle label was ‘making everyone in the office a cup of tea, or just selfishly making yourself one’.”

Find out more about our energy community, and how we are being careful with energy, water and waste at the places we look after at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/energy

 

 

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