This month, young people around the world will strike to demand action on climate change. Following the example of inspiring activist Greta Thunberg, they are calling for urgent, radical measures to address the climate emergency – recognising that time to save our planet is fast running out.
Young people have never been more engaged with the climate crisis. And their schools are taking action too, including many signing up to the LESS CO2 programme. This free carbon-cutting scheme doesn’t just tackle the many dangers of the climate change – it brings schools big savings on their energy costs.
As a new term begins, here’s how your school can lower its bills while protecting then planet.
Make sure that lights, computers, whiteboards, printers and photocopiers are only turned on when they are needed. Automatic power-down systems can be installed to do this for you. Ask students to carry out spot checks to ensure that equipment is off. Don’t use power-hungry plug-in storage heaters or fan heaters.
Students and staff should be responsible for ensuring the lights are turned off in empty classrooms – how about awards for classes that do this really well? Make sure that daylight and motion sensors are not turning lights on when they are not needed.
Tackle heat loss
Insulate roofs and walls to make sure heat is not escaping. Insulate pipes throughout your buildings, to conserve the heat in the water. Only heat your school to a maximum of 19 degrees.
Close doors to keep heat in – and manage your heating controls and timing to ensure your school is only heated when absolutely necessary. By cutting the time that your heating is running by just 10 or 20 minutes per day, you can save a lot over the full school year.
Get students involved
Students will love taking responsibility for carbon cutting. Start up an energy saving club – give members a badge and ask them to present in assembly. Listen to their views and ideas, and make sure that their efforts are rewarded.
Carry out an energy audit
A detailed energy audit lets schools see where and when their energy use is high – identifying possible investments, and revealing where savings could be made.
Join LESS CO2
Schools can take their efforts to the next level – and secure even more savings – by joining the LESS CO2 programme. The scheme gathers local schools into clusters, allowing staff to share best practice and discuss the challenges they face.
LESS CO2 experts supply guidance and resources, and lead interactive workshops throughout the school year. But learning from other schools allows staff to see what really works, and creates helpful connections that support carbon-cutting even after the programme is over.
Your school could inspire the next Greta Thunberg – but, more importantly, they will show masses of staff and students how to take simple steps can help address the climate emergency.
LESS CO2 launched in 2011, and 450 schools have already taken part – schools taking part cut energy use by an average of 14% in the first year of the scheme alone. There’s still time to join for the 2019/20 academic year. So if your school could turn its students’ energy and enthusiasm into positive change, get in touch and see if we are running a cluster in your area.