A co-designed approach to energy saving in schools
The creation of a comfortable and energy-responsible learning environment in schools is a complex but rewarding task, which has multiple interlinked dimensions.
The ENERGE (Energising Education to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions) project aims to address this through low cost technical, educational and behavioural interventions. ENERGE will be demonstrated in 13 project schools across six project countries in North-Western Europe.
|Key facts about ENERGE|
• Funding Organisation: Interreg NWE
• Project Duration: 2019-2023
• Budget: €4.27 million
• Partners/Sub-Partners: 12, including academic institutions, business entities and governmental authorities
• Project Countries: France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Northern Ireland
• Project Schools: 13 post-primary schools (roughly 2 schools per each country)
• Coláiste Éinde (Galway) & Seamount College (Kinvara) are among the project schools.
Energy under control
The project aims to improve energy performance of schools, backed by a comprehensive and user-friendly energy monitoring system and building audit methodologies.The outcome will be a comfortable indoor environment in schools, measured by digital sensors to check temperature, humidity, noise, light and CO2.
The project will develop a high level of energy literacy of all involved with the school, especially students, which is embedded in the school curriculum and will include a co-design strategy to provide a more energy efficient school environment by engaging students, teachers and other school personnel.
To obtain these energy and education outcome will require the application of modern methodologies such as big data, digital ethnography, networking and stakeholder analysis, as well as reliance on key performance indicators and baselining practices.
ENERGE – Early Results
• Installation of energy monitoring in the project has been achieved to monitor energy use, both real-time and historically.
• A set of indoor climate sensors has been installed in each project school to monitor internal environments.
• Co-design sessions with students, teachers and other stakeholders are ongoing to develop a user-friendly interface of the ENERGE Platform.
• Extensive surveys have been undertaken to collect data on students’ attitudes and behaviours towards energy use and the wider environment. Surveys are ongoing into student understanding and experience of indoor climate issues in schools. In addition to energy use and indoor climate data, the results of the surveys are incorporated into the ENERGE Platform to serve as a basis for strategic decisions.
• ENERGE Committees have been established in each project school to act as a permanent unit for ENERGE Platform manifestation and testing to help the research team design and test project activities in each school.
• Energy literacy modules have been developed and piloted in each project school via a special Teachers Network, which links multi-disciplinary teams of teachers who are interested in raising the level of energy literacy among students.
• A detailed analysis of school governance systems across the Partner countries has been undertaken, and business scenarios for development of energy-related projects such as the ENERGE platform in schools have been analysed.
ENERGE Project Plans
The ENERGE project objectives are truly multifaceted. The project is expected to achieve tangible reduction in energy use in the project schools; significant improvement of energy literacy among students via a set of curriculum-embedded energy literacy modules; and active involvement of both teachers and students from different countries to create a more environmentally friendly and comfortable indoor environment.
A very important segment of the project is to co-design these activities together by constantly engaging all stakeholders (including students) in this process.
A key outcome of the project will be a co-created ENERGE Platform – an interactive, data-rich, educational, experimental and innovative tool for monitoring energy performance and comfort levels, for sharing different ideas, for running digital ethnographic sessions and for educating various stakeholders.
ENERGE will use the project schools as a testing ground in order to demonstrate the vast potential of a systemic approach to energy use and comfort.
However, the project aim is more ambitious – it aims to transcend this experience to other schools by sharing the obtained expertise, skills and outcomes.