Okehampton College

Jane at the Pod

Okehampton College

The challenge

Okehampton College is an 11-18 secondary school with 1400 pupils on roll. In 2008 the annual energy bill was around £100k, and on some days we were spending £1,000 on energy!

How did you start?

The first thing we did was to install kit which displayed the amount of electricity that was being used in all the different buildings at school. Once we’d done this we saw that energy was being used when it wasn’t needed, with pretty much the same amount of energy being used 24 hours a day.

Pupil Leadership

As well as needing to reduce our energy bills, one of our key objectives was to get more pupils interested in STEM subjects. We worked with EDF Energy to introduce a range of initiatives to address both objectives, including:

  • Plant room insulation. This involved students helping to spot where we should fit insulating jackets to valves, flanges and pipe work, to optimise heat delivery.
  • The creation of online dials. These show students the consumption of electricity per zone, room and circuit. This helps students understand how energy is consumed.
  • Student energy champions. They go round the school and identity if a classroom is energy efficient or not, for example if lights have been turned off. If it is energy efficient the champions stick a green face on the door, however if it is not energy efficient it gets a red face. This not only helps students become more aware of where energy is wasted but teachers and staff at Okehampton also.
  • Making the school’s energy use visible to pupils through user-friendly, highly visual energy monitors/meters as well as putting in place signs to encourage sensible energy use and recycling.
  • Adding energy awareness and sustainability as key topics within the curriculum.
  • All of the students had access to computers to do research and write their own blogs.

Energy Saving

We identified lots of things we could do to reduce our consumption. These included:

  • turning off the computer network outside of school hours
  • installing radiators in rooms where electric heaters were being used (we found electricity is 3 times as expensive as gas)
  • installing low energy lighting
  • improvements to the Building Management Systems (heating controls).

Installing renewable energy systems

Using funding from grants and awards, and the money saved on reducing our energy consumption, we installed photovoltaic solar panels and a wind turbine to generate electricity and a biomass boiler for our heating.