Includes advice on saving energy, energy management and funding
We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and managing energy costs through utilising effective energy procurement, conservation and efficiency.
Our long and medium term corporate goals are
Our short term objectives are to:
Energy saving initiatives at Somerset County Council include
Somerset residents who are interested in energy efficiency and saving money off their fuel bills can get free advice and support from the Home Energy Team at the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol.
The Home Energy Team can advise you about understanding your energy bills, your heating system and on everything from simple no cost-low tips through to financing large scale energy saving improvements.
In addition, further support is available to Somerset residents who are struggling to keep their homes warm, finding it difficult to keep on top of their bills or need advice on grants for home improvements. Phone free on 0800 082 2234.
Renewable energy technologies convert the energy of the wind, waves, sun, growing crops and moving water into power we can use to boil a kettle, drive a car or heat our homes. We have produced a strategy that outlines how Somerset may be able to make better use of renewable energy. We can signpost you to organisations that provide information and advice on renewable energy.
We have implemented a number of renewable energy installations across our estate including a Photovoltaic array (solar panels) at our main office at County Hall, Taunton.
This installation was supported with grant funding of 65% of the cost from the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) Major Photovoltaic Demonstration Programme which aimed to reduce photovoltaic prices through encouraging their application on a large scale.
The 142 m² photovoltaic array contains 120 cells generate up to 19,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each year, which will in turn save approximately 8 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Somerset County Council were the UK Co-ordinating Partner of the EU-funded “BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport” (BEST) Project, under the European 6th Framework Programme Priority 6.1 Alternative Motor Fuels: BioFuel Cities. The BEST partnership included local government, major car manufacturers, fuel retailers, a bioethanol production company, and the leading UK academic institution on bioethanol research.
The project has now ended. If you would like to know more about this project please visit the Biofuels project website.
Somerset County Council is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and climate change.
To monitor and manage the Council’s carbon footprint, data is collected and verified from a variety of sources.
The data is converted by the relevant DEFRA CO2e conversion factor for each reporting year, and is categorised by scope e.g. Scope 1, 2 or 3 emissions.
Scope 1 (Direct emissions): Activities owned or controlled by an organisation that release emissions straight into the atmosphere. Examples of scope 1 emissions include emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers, owned or controlled vehicles.
Scope 2 (Energy indirect): Emissions being released into the atmosphere associated with the consumption of purchased electricity, heat, steam and cooling. These are indirect emissions that are a consequence of an organisation’s activities but which occur at sources that an organisation does not control. The most common type of scope 2 emission is electricity purchased for own consumption from the National Grid or third party.
Scope 3 (other indirect): Emissions are discretionary to include that are a consequence of an organisations actions, which occurs at sources which an organisation does not own or control and which are not classified by scope 2 emissions. Examples of scope 3 emissions include business travel not owned of controlled by an organisation (e.g. public transport), commuting, use of grey fleet (i.e. use of employee’s own cars), emissions from contractors, and supply chain procurement.
Somerset County Council’s baseline year is the financial year 2010-11 to correspond with the County Plan 2010-17. Reducing the Council’s carbon footprint is a key priority in the plan and performance is monitored throughout the year.
Since 2010, the Council has implemented a Sustainable Business Travel Policy, invested in energy efficiency improvements across its property estate and street lighting and will continue to ensure energy is being managed effectively to reduce the Council’s environmental impact and to manage bottom line spend on energy.
We provide a comprehensive energy management service to schools, public sector and not for profit organisations.
Our aim is to help our customers to reduce what they spend on energy and cut carbon emissions. We achieve this through effective energy procurement to get the best prices and by providing our customers with energy conservation advice and tools to help them identify and reduce energy waste.
The service that we provide includes:
Our comprehensive service saves you time and money by managing your contracts with suppliers, checking your utility bills and providing you with the latest technical support.
Schools, local authorities, housing associations, charities, and not for profit organisations are all eligible to access the Council’s energy supply and bureau service.
Reducing energy waste and controlling your energy usage will help you to manage and reduce bottom line spend on utilities and reduce your carbon footprint.
Follow the simple steps below to put in place an energy management system at your school to help you monitor, manage and reduce your energy usage.
Engaging staff and pupils is key to the success of your energy management campaign. Raise awareness of what you are doing with staff and pupils and formalise your objectives in an Energy Policy.
Did you know: “Controlling energy usage will improve comfort for staff and students- and comfortable students will be more attentive, making learning more enjoyable for everyone” (Carbon Trust).
Steps to managing your energy usage
Step 1: Saving energy at school
Step 2: The energy team in your school
Step 3: Monitoring and metering energy in schools
Step 4: Identifying Energy Savings
Step 5: Setting a target and writing an energy action plan
Step 6: Using the online Tool – The Energy Viewer
Step 7: Implementing your school’s Energy Management System
Step 1: Creating an Energy Policy for your school
Commitment to energy efficiency needs to come from the top and should be backed up by an energy policy.
Your school’s energy policy sets out how your school wishes to reduce its energy usage. Ideally your policy should address the six areas highlighted in the energy management matrix and should be tailored to suit your school’s individual needs and resources.
Before you write your energy policy, use the Energy Management Matrix to work out your current position on energy management, and to think about your ultimate aim and best practice (shown in the matrix as a score of 4)
Things to consider
Things to consider when writing an energy policy document/ statement:
The policy should be developed by your school’s Energy Team in consultation with teaching and non-teaching staff and pupils, so as to involve the whole school population.
It’s important to recognise that staff and students are your biggest asset when it comes to driving down energy consumption. Your school’s Energy Team will need to engage with staff and students in order to help facilitate behavioural change and manage the school building’s services efficiently.
What does the school’s energy team do?
Your energy team has a role to play at all stages along the energy management pathway. The team is likely to:
Who should be included in your school’s energy team?
Every school is different and this may not always be practical, but ideally the School Energy Team should include:
By monitoring and measuring your energy usage you will be able to identify no-cost solutions and could save up to 10% off your fuel bills.
Monitoring your energy use helps you to:
There are several ways to monitor your energy use.
The Council’s Energy Management Team has installed AMR meters to gas and electricity supplies across Somerset schools (where technically feasible).
AMR gives you detailed information about your daily energy consumption. Viewing this detail may help you spot opportunities to reduce your energy use. For example, is the school heating set to come on too early; staying on too late? Does the level of electricity use drop off in the evening, or does usage remain high showing that lights, monitors, or other electrical equipment may have been left on when the school is not being used?
You can view your AMR data and copies of your energy bills online using the online energy management tool The Energy Viewer. A link to the Energy Viewer can be found in the Related Services section on this page.
If you have meters that are not covered by AMR, meters should be read monthly but larger schools may wish to take readings more frequently.
The Meter Reading Guide in the information and resources section shows you how to read several different types of electricity and gas meters.
Having read the meters, it is important to record and analyse the data. If targets are set, it is useful to compare consumption against these and plot progress.
Using The Energy Viewer tool or reading meters to record and analyse data provides an ideal opportunity for pupils to get involved in understanding energy use and data handling.
Benchmarking enables you to compare your schools energy performance against other schools. A fast and easy way to determine the potential for saving energy and water is to calculate the school’s performance and then compare this with published benchmarks. This will help you to outline areas on which to concentrate (electricity, fossil fuel, water) and will also give an indication of potential savings for each of these resources.
You will be able to find benchmark information on your school’s Display Energy Certificate (DEC). However the DEC does not benchmark water usage.
To benchmark your school’s performance you will need to find out your school’s floor area in m2 and annual energy usage in kWh. If you do not already know this please contact the Council’s Energy Management Team.
The range of benchmarks is helpful in determining realistic quantified potential savings. For example, a secondary school may wish to improve current electricity performance from between ‘typical’ and ‘poor’ to ‘good’ practice in the next two years.
However, it is important to note that no two schools will be the same in terms of energy consumption. For example, a school opening into the evening and serving the community is making full use of resources but will be using more energy than a school not used by the community; therefore benchmarks should only be used as a guideline.
Conduct an energy walk-round to find out how energy is being used and to determine how much energy can be saved. You could involve members of the school community including teachers, pupils and caretakers making a visual assessment of each room and:
A walk-round provides a great opportunity for pupils to get involved as well as demonstrating commitment to improving energy performance.
Further guidance on benchmarking and identifying savings can be found in the Bursar’s Guide to Sustainable School Operation.
Once you have identified your consumption either by taking meter readings or by using The Energy Viewer, compared your schools performance against benchmarks and inspected the school to see where wasteful activity is taking place, you can begin to set targets. Make sure these are:
Measurable: For example, a measurable target would be to reduce electricity use by 5% or water use by 15%.
Realistic: a 40% reduction in a year is unlikely to be realistic. Moreover, a failure to achieve such targets can undermine confidence and reduce enthusiasm in the project.
Time limited: you need to know when the targets should be met, for example, within 12 months, or by the end of term.
Writing an Energy Action Plan
From your walk-rounds you should be able to produce a list of action points. Prioritise your actions so you tackle the easier, low cost measures first. When creating your action plan, allocate tasks to specific individuals and set a date for either completion or feeding back information to your school’s Energy Team. Regular progress meetings with those involved will help to keep activities from slipping and ensure that everyone feels their actions are important in reducing the overall environmental impact of your school.
Remember to report back regularly to school users, including governors and parents, on your targets and the progress made towards achieving them.
The Council’s Energy Team have worked with TEAM Energy Auditing Agency Ltd in the development of a new online energy monitoring and targeting tool called the ‘Energy Viewer’.
The tool is linked to the Council’s central energy management database and is available to all schools that purchase energy via the Council’s Energy Team.
Helping your school to save money
The Energy Viewer is an online tool which contains copies of your utility bills and half hourly consumption data from any fitted AMR meters, therefore providing you with the information that you need to start managing your energy usage and reducing spend on utilities.
Using the tool you can identify any anomalies such as unexpected ‘out of hours’ energy usage and you can measure the benefits of any energy saving measures that you undertake.
Using the Energy Viewer
The Energy Viewer can be a powerful way to raise awareness of how much energy is being used across your school.
The easy-to-understand reports present your school’s energy data in an accessible way that can be shared with students as a learning resource (maths, science and sustainability etc.) Below are some ideas for using the Energy Viewer in addition to monitoring and targeting energy usage:
Getting started with The Energy Viewer
A link to the Energy Viewer can be found in the Information and Resources Section on this page.
Your school’s login details have been sent to the school but if you need these details to be re-sent, please contact the Energy Team.
After logging in, you can generate a range of reports that display your electricity or gas use on a daily, monthly or annual basis. The reports allow you to identify periods of peak consumption, highlight energy waste and monitor your energy saving efforts.
To ensure savings are maintained in the future it important to keep the momentum of planning and checking
Energy Bureau Service– The Council’s Energy Team provide an energy bureau service to schools which helps them to achieve the best rates for energy, monitoring and managing energy usage and provision of technical advice. The aim is to help schools manage bottom line spend on energy to keep costs down. Please contact the Energy Team for further information. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01823 357777.
Salix energy efficiency loan – Maintained schools interested in getting a SALIX loan for an energy efficiency project should contact the Corporate Property Team. Academies can apply directly to Salix Finance Ltd for an interest free loan for suitable energy efficiency projects. Further information is available on their website, or for further advice please contact email@example.com
Eco Schools Assessments – If your school or academy is interested in becoming an Eco School, or obtaining an Energy Award, all the information you need including how to get started, the assessment criteria and how to book a Green Flag Assessment can be found here eco-schools.org.uk/
Regular communication is key if you wish to involve the whole school community. Assemblies, surveys and displays are all good ways of getting the energy saving message across.
Download our Watt’s On? Energy awareness campaign posters or get your pupils to create some energy awareness posters to help you communicate the message.
Home Energy Advice
The Carbon Trust
Energy Saving Trust
Centre for Sustainable Energy
BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport
National Energy Action
Sharing information on greenhouse gas emissions from local authority own estate and operations (previously NI 185)
Measuring and reporting environmental impacts: guidance for businesses
Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting guidance
The Energy Viewer- Online energy management tool
Contact the Energy Management Team for your login details
Carbon Trust –Energy efficiency and carbon saving advice for schools
EDF POD- Energy, Science and Sustainability resource for schools
The Energy Viewer- Online energy management tool for Somerset Schools
Please contact the Energy Management Team for your login details
SALIX Finance- Interest free loan for energy efficiency measures
Energy Walk-round Checklist
Meter Reading Guidance
Out of Hours Checklist
Bursar’s Guide to Sustainable School Operation (Department for Children, Schools and Families)
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