Monitoring the Impact of Energy Matters

Researching the impact of CSE’s flagship energy education programme

Project duration: October 2002 to April 2003

As part of the development of the Energy Matters programme, research was carried out on the impact of teaching energy issues using the Energy Matters resources. The aim was to assess the level of reductions in energy use through both personal action and energy efficiency investment, in the homes and schools of pupils who had used the resources.

As a result of the evaluation, two reports were produced: one by CSE and another by an independent consultant, Robin Sadler of New Perspectives. See right for details of downloads.

The research was carried out through interviews with the three main groups involved with the Energy Matters programme: pupils, their parents or carers, and school staff (both teaching and management). By talking with each of these groups, CSE was looking to see how far any impact had reached out from the school into its local community and within the school community itself.

New Perspectives was responsible for telephone interviews with parents/carers. They asked about information gathered from involvement with their children's energy school work, any changes in their energy use and any benefits they found.

CSE staff visited 14 schools and talked with groups of pupils and staff at each. Questions covered similar issues and were additionally able to address motivation and future intention with these groups. The research was carried out over the spring on 2004. Schools involved had used the Energy Matters resources in the previous six months to two years.

The main conclusion was that some 75% of parents/carers had taken action to reduce their energy consumption, a result that compared favourably with the impact of advice given through professional energy advice services. Parents were also very positive about the schools using resources which address environmental issues and involve pupils in what happens in their homes.

School staff also responded positively to the resources, with many of them reporting increased activity to reduce energy consumption on a daily basis, and including energy efficiency as a criterion in maintenance and refurbishment plans. Using the Energy Matters materials seemed to have had a ripple effect in schools, with the impact widening out of the classroom to the whole school.

Pupils were pleased that they had been able to take a role in addressing energy use at home and at school. They indicated that doing the activities had given them confidence to talk about energy saving and encouraging others to act.

Relevant downloads and links:
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