The Christmas break is over for another year. With the turkeys eaten, presents opened and new year celebrated, schools across the UK are busy once again for a brand-new term. However, that doesn’t mean that winter is over yet.
For educational establishments, beating the back to school blues can be tough after the festive period and having a chilly classroom can be a distraction for even the most motivated student. However, heating is usually the largest and most expensive energy user in schools which means keeping your school warm can be expensive.
There are many energy efficiency measures to try reduce the heating oil consumption in school without resorting to teachers and students wearing their winter coats in the classroom – energy efficiency doesn’t mean compromising on comfort.
For schools running on heating oil, WP Group have compiled a list of heating efficiency initiatives to keep staff and students warm while reducing heating oil consumption.
- Keep to recommended temperatures
Maintaining optimum temperatures will improve comfort which positively contributes to attentiveness and morale in students whilst helping to build a more productive learning environment.
The Department for Education and Skills recommend the temperatures for schools for various activities and situations
- Normal teaching environment - 18°C
- Circulation spaces (e.g. corridors) - 15°C
- Areas with high levels of activity (e.g. sports halls) - 15°C
- Areas with low levels of activity - 21°C
- Special needs schools or areas with very young children - 21°C
If some of these temperatures seems a little low, there is a reason for that. Children actually have a higher metabolic rate than adults and are therefore more comfortable at lower temperatures.
- Appropriately timed heating
Try adjusting the heating timer so that the school reaches optimum temperature as people begin to arrive, and cool down shortly before people leave. You can do this slowly by gradually adjusting the settings over a small period and checking the response and feedback from your staff.
With heating needs varying throughout the day and week, review your school’s time settings every month to check they match the times when heating and ventilation are needed. If short-term adjustments are made to your system, don’t forget to change them back. Installing a seven-day timer will allow for bespoke settings for each day of the week, perfect for when the school isn’t in use over the weekend and holidays.
- Look after the heating oil tank
Your storage tank needs regular maintenance checks to help safeguard against breakdowns, keep your heating system in optimum working order and will also highlight efficiency opportunities. Ensure your kerosene storage tank does not have any rust or damage as well as ensuring gauges, pipes and fittings are still in a good condition.
- Prevent interference
With schools being as large as they are, there is ample opportunity for staff and students to disrupt the heating and ventilation levels. Fitting tamper-proof thermostatic radiator valves and lockable windows can go some way to prevent this.
Also discourage staff from using thermostats as an on/off switch. Increasing thermostats to maximum does not increase the speed in which a room is heated and often instead just results in an overheated room.
- Location, location, location
Where thermostats are located has a massive influence on how they are influenced. Keep them away from draughty areas, sunlight and internal heat sources like radiators and ICT equipment.
- Don’t block heat
As with many educational spaces, furniture is regularly rearranged to accommodate students’ requirements. However, be sure to not obstruct radiators or vents with equipment or furniture. This will ensure effective heat circulation around the space.
- Good building maintenance
Heating consumption is at its most effective when the building itself is well maintained. Think about the condition of the floors, walls, windows and roofs when making improvements to the heating systems – without regular building maintenance and effective insulation, other efficiency initiatives can lack in results.
- Upgrade to a quality product
Investing in products such as advanced kerosene can maximise the efficiency of your school and lower its carbon emissions.
Advanced kerosene have been formulated with additives specifically to improve the burn quality and boiler performance, as well as reducing contamination and sludge build-up in your storage tank. In the long run, this reduces the need for expensive services and improves fuel storage life.
- Maintain boilers and pipework
Minimize the chances of an inconvenient boiler breakdown with a regular and accredited boiler service. Ideally, oil boilers should receive a service twice a year to ensure it is running at top performance and that risk of potential carbon monoxide issues are minimal. With a potential saving of 10% on your annual heating costs, work your boiler to make the most of your heating oil.
As well as boilers, hot water tanks, pipes and valves should be effectively insulated to prevent heat loss.
- Install automated heating oil top-ups with consumption analytics
You can effectively monitor the quantity and quality of your heating oil by installing a fuel monitoring system. These systems can give easy access to data and analytics, set-up automated heating oil orders and highlight energy efficiency opportunities within your school.
This will save resource, time and money on monitoring your kerosene and dramatically reduces the risk of running out of heating oil.
It may take a few months to start to see the savings after implementing these initiatives, however subsequent months and years will show a reduction in heating oil consumption and cost with energy efficiency improvements. Not only this, but taking action in improving the sustainability for your school is a great message and engagement opportunity to share with staff, students, parents and governors.
To discuss the heating oil requirements of your educational establishment with a member of our friendly team, contact us on 0800 980 6172 or email us at .