Pioneering schools programme seeks new recruits ...

6 February 2019

More schools are being recruited to take part in Energy-in-Schools, the pioneering project being run by CSE in partnership with Samsung, Lancaster University and switching site, My Utility Genius.

For the past six months, Energy in Schools has been developing an innovative smart-tech energy management platform for schools – with pupils and teachers involved at every level. The platform uses the state-of the-art temperature, humidity and motion sensors and the credit card sized micro:bit computer and associated coding environment to to give an in-depth view of how schools use energy and where and how they can take action to use it more efficiently.

The micro:bit is a tiny but powerful programmable computer, designed to make learning and teaching easy and fun. Each device includes an LED display and buttons so the user can be communicated with. It was developed by Microsoft, the BBC, Samsung and others and is being used in schools around the world to teach anything from science to cookery through the medium of simple coding.

"The kids love it," said CSE's Nick Banks who has been working with Karen Smith to introduce the micro:bit into three  pilot schools - St Mary Redcliffe primary school in Bristol, Lancaster Girls Grammar School and Ellel St Johns primary also in Lancaster. "The micro:bit is designed to be used as a flexible platform for any number of applications. We’ve  added temperature and humidity sensors to ours and also calibrated them to calculate the electricity flowing through any cable that they are attached to."

"The children have been able to programme the micro:bits and use the technology to address real world energy problems and play a genuine role in managing energy in the school better. For  example pupils are able to see how much electricity their school, classroom or computer is using, compare the energy use of different buildings or time periods, turn unwanted lights off and make a special smart bulb glow a particular colour to indicate that the room has reached a required temperature."

Schools taking part get free micro:bits, free Samsung Smartthings sensors, a large screen where the school can display energy information and a host of supporting materials including lesson plans, and an Energy Champions training programme

And it's not just children who benefit. Energy for Schools has a portal for energy managers and a switching site where schools can opt for a time-of-use tariff and benefit from the fact that they are 'non-peaky' users of electricity. St Mary Redcliffe is expecting to save upwards of £3,000 a year after having switched electricity supplier through Energy for Schools.

"We're actively looking for more schools to join the programme," said Nick. "I'd be happy to talk to teachers, head teachers or school energy managers who want to know more. For further details and to register interest in taking part go to: www.energyinschools.co.uk.

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