All schools in the UK are required to have a basic energy survey and a Display Energy Certificate, but the advice provided is often too generic to help them make energy savings. YEP! (‘Young Energy People’) - the brainchild of Severn Wye Energy Agency - gives pupils the power and know-how to tackle the problem themselves by providing training to survey, monitor and report on their school’s energy use and carbon emissions.
To get the programme started, YEP! creates a 25-strong ‘school energy management team’, composed of students who have to apply and interview for the roles in the team. Their first task is to carry out a detailed energy survey of the school and then present a report of their findings to the school’s senior staff. YEP! teams use a template to keep an ‘energy diary’ with monthly gas and electricity readings, and report their results to SWEA.
YEP! helps the schools take action to improve their buildings and promote day-to-day energy saving across the school. So far 29 schools are saving an average of £5,500 per year on their energy bills and reducing CO2 emissions by 12 per cent. And the pupils gain vocational skills and experience that will also help them when they leave school. The initiative has been so successful that SWEA is now looking for partners to help them expand YEP! to other parts of the country.