14th January 2013
Pupils cast an eye over schools’ energy consumption
AN online tool is helping schools to reduce power bills while proving useful in the classroom.
Energy Eye – www.energyeye.im – is a computer programme that allows users to monitor electricity use through tailored graphs and charts to see where waste occurs and where savings can be made.
Schools’ electricity bills totalled £835,000 in the financial year 2011/12.
A simple conversion of schools’ meters has given them access to Energy Eye, which is being rolled out across the Isle of Man Government sites that consume the most power.
Mark Smith, of the Manx Electricity Authority, is deploying the Energy Eye across Government while also training schools’ headteachers and site managers in the use of it so they and their pupils can get the most from it.
‘It enables schools to analyse their power usage in a variety of ways and identify possible cost savings.’
Schools can review the previous day’s data each morning in formats they choose and can pre-set their requirements so the same data is produced daily, weekly etc. As power use surges when it’s dark or cold, Energy Eye allows schools to compare electricity usage to weather over a period of time. Power use trends over time can be analysed by pupils as part of their lessons. Charts can pinpoint where equipment has been left on overnight – not always easy to police in a large school.
Mark explained that Energy Eye allows schools to compare data across education, using the key performance indicator of units of electricity per square metre and taking into account the size, age and energy efficiency of buildings.
Energy Eye has a pupil-friendly dashboard that is proving popular with schools eco-councils and the like.
The Department of Economic Development is, in conjunction with the Department of Education and Children, encouraging the use of Energy Eye by launching the first Junior Energy Awards this term. Primary classes and secondary eco groups will submit projects they have carried out using Energy Eye and these will be judged on how imaginative they are and how they are applied as well as how much they can potentially save.
Judging takes place in July and winners from each category will visit either the energy from waste plant in Braddan or the MEA’s combined cycle gas turbine plant at Pulrose. The best projects will be showcased alongside those entered into the wider Energy Awards at DED’s Energy Expo marquee at the Royal Manx Agricultural Show in August.
Schools will also be encouraged to appoint energy monitors to promote energy awareness all year round.
Energy Eye is funded by the Isle of Man Government’s Energy Initiatives Capital Fund.
Peter Longworth, of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:
‘Energy Eye is already in use at 55 government sites, including many schools, and has already proved invaluable in identifying sites with unusual consumption patterns, poor power factor or excess available supply capacity, all of which can be readily improved.’
‘We are finding our larger businesses find it invaluable to have access to this kind of energy management information so they can take more active control of how energy is being used in their buildings and what can be improved quickly and easily.’
Images: Top - a dashboard view of Scoill Ree Gorree’s data, as an example of the information schools can obtain. Above - Queen Elizabeth II High School sixth form eco-committee students, from left Millie Barrow, Grace Harrop, Moira Pain, Alex Eaton, Colin Bankes-Jones and William Hogg, presenting a project entitled the ‘Big Energy Show’ using data from Energy Eye.