Energy Saving Challenge delivers impressive results as schools reduce their carbon footprints

Powercor’s continued support for the SATRO Energy Saving Challenge has culminated in another awards’ event, which saw pupils at schools across Surrey recognised for their efforts to reduce their schools’ energy usage.

For the third year in a row, Powercor was the principle sponsor of the challenge which, in 2023, saw pupils in years one to six from 10 schools across Surrey take up the SATRO challenge. The aim for participants is to find ways in which their schools can save energy, reducing not only their bills but more importantly their carbon footprints.

SATRO is a long-established educational charity working across South Central England. It works in schools, partnering with employers to bring inspirational learning to students of all abilities and backgrounds. 

SATRO’s key areas of focus are:

  • STEM Education.
  • Vocational.
  • Employability & Skills.

Having sought ways in which Powercor could engage with schools around STEM, the SATRO Energy Saving Challenge has become a competition which has involved and engaged a rising number of schools across Surrey.

It was first run in 2020 with Powercor supplying smart meters and metering software to each school, as well as funding.  This is the third year of the challenge. 

The core aim of the challenge is for pupils at each participating primary school to create their own eco-groups, which will play a key role in leading the school to save electricity and reduce carbon emissions. Pupils have a clear period in which to create and deliver their energy saving ideas. This year, each school had three months, which ended on 2nd July.

Ten schools signed up and all threw themselves into the challenge of finding innovative ways to save energy.

The tasks on which they would be judged at the end of the three months were specific.

  • Lead and educate the school in Energy Saving
  • Monitor and reduce Electricity use.
  • Lower Carbon Emissions

The ten schools’ eco groups were duly formed and asked to write regular reports on their progress. 

The groups were tasked with engaging the wider school community with, for instance, St Peter’s CofE Primary School launching an Eco-Award that they presented to the class that saved the most energy each week.

At the end of the challenge the results were impressive

The ten schools measured their total carbon emissions at 32.21 tonnes. Their efforts saved a total of 9.83 tonnes, representing a 17.51% saving from the levels used at the start of the challenge. Total occupants at the ten schools numbered 3,278, with the total carbon savings representing 2.09 kg per person for the three months, equating to 8.36 kg annually.

If those results were expanded to the whole of Surrey the savings would be significant.

A total of 12 awards were presented at the event, which was held at the Surrey Technology Centre, Surrey Research Park, Guildford on Thursday 13th July.

The awards were presented by Powercor’s sales director, Greg Cole, with a large attendance from both adults and children.

The overall winner was Cliddesen Primary, which were also the winners of the awards for Most Energy Saved – Holidays and also Most Energy Saved – Weekend. Cliddesen also came first in the overall Most Carbon Saved Award.

Tillingbourne Junior School won three awards for Best Interim Report, Best Use of Data, and Community Engagement. Cranmere Primary and Nursey School scored a double, winning the Best Final Report award, along with the award for Best Communication. Best Innovation went to St Peter’s CofE School, as did the award for Planning for the Future.

Carl Webb, STEM Tutor at SATRO said: “I would like to thank all the students, parents and staff who entered the competition and to those who attended our Energy Saving Celebration”.

“Thanks also to Powercor for their continued support and to Greg Cole for his support during the evening”.

“I would like to say very well done to all schools who participated, and it was great to share all the students’ amazing work with everyone.”

“As a group, the 10 schools saved 17.51% in carbon emissions. On average, a tonne per school over the 3 months. This equates to 2.09 kg per occupant. This highlights their hard work and they deserve huge congratulations. A key message from this year’s event was that Solar power really makes a difference!”

Powercor’s Chris Wright added: “We were delighted to be able to support such a great competition for a third year. The results have been really impressive. It once again goes to highlight the savings that can be made if there is an effort to examine your current energy usage and make simple behaviour changes to find ways it can be reduced. The aim is not just to encourage pupils to look at how their schools uses energy, but also to hopefully take those lessons and use the knowledge they have gained to save energy at home.”

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