How to Improve Energy Efficiency in Education

03 April 2024

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How to Improve Energy Efficiency in Education

From environmental targets to budget concerns, there has never been a better time to shine a light on how the education sector can reduce its energy consumption.

Here, we’ll outline the unique challenges that the education sector faces as well as real-world solutions that can be implemented today, because we understand that investment in energy efficiency shouldn’t come at the cost of the everyday running of a successful educational institute. 


Energy Consumption in Education

A recent piece of analysis states that 120 of the UK's largest Trusts (representing 2,037 schools) collectively consume around 1.3 billion kWh of energy annually, primarily relying on natural gas to provide their energy. With such a high energy usage, there will always be a natural desire to reduce the usage to manage costs.

In 2019, the Government claimed that the average school was paying in the region of £90,000 for energy each year, and with the cost of electricity having risen in subsequent years, that number has likely increased with budgets not rising to meet the demand.

The education sector has some unique conditions that affect its ability to reduce energy costs to meet these budgets, such as:

Building conditions

Many schools and colleges are in older buildings, meaning that they are less efficient at keeping heat locked in. The strict budgets in the public sector may not allow for installing new heat-retaining measures.


ICT/Technology usage

Education institutes rely heavily on computers to operate properly, with laptops and projectors on for most of the day. IT suites with multiple computers in use at any one time can also contribute to energy usage.



Unlike some office buildings that may have rooms that aren’t used for days at a time, classrooms are rarely empty for longer than an hour or two, meaning that they must be heated almost constantly.


Implementing energy policies

Despite having challenges that can contribute to high energy usage, there are plenty of ways that energy conservation can become a regular part of life at a school or college.


Energy usage checks

Regular checks of high-consumption appliances such as heating and lighting can help to reduce energy usage by stopping the wasting of energy on unnecessary things.


Bringing in new staff and student guidance on energy consumption

In order for the staff and students to comply with energy consumption targets, they must have guidance that they can follow. Having a clear set of rules allows for an easier transition towards lower energy consumption.


Creating an energy strategy

An energy strategy allows the business to assess energy usage as a whole across the business, creating a structure for long term changes. The strategy can include various aspects including more detailed meter readings, energy audits and behavioural changes throughout the organisation.


Energy Saving in Education

There are a number of areas that can serve as an effective way to make savings across energy usage and cost.


Detailed meter readings

Taking meter readings more frequently can help you assess the energy usage of your building(s) throughout the day and help you track how your actions are impacting the business. Having a smart meter enables easier access to data, while also providing a more effective way of monitoring usage. You should check with your supplier if you’re eligible for the installation of a smart meter device.


Energy Audits

An energy audit is a way to assess where energy is being used in the organisation, and how it can be better managed. The audit may include making an inventory of your electrical appliances, examining your energy bills, and using specialised equipment to determine where money can be saved by reducing energy usage.

Using energy audits, along with the strategies listed above, may allow schools and colleges to reduce their energy bills significantly by making stakeholders aware of the ways that energy is being wasted across the organisation. For example, if windows are open in an office it may trigger the building management system for the heating to come on, even when it’s not needed.

Behavioural changes

The most significant change will probably be seen by implementing behavioural changes for the staff and students. Simple tricks like turning off lights in empty classrooms, or ensuring computers are turned off when not use in, can save hundreds or even thousands of pounds across the year.


SEFE Energy is one of the UK’s leading business energy suppliers, helping thousands of businesses manage their gas and electricity contracts. To find out more about what we can offer your business, visit the homepage or request a quote today here.

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