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Energy savings in Soar Valley College (Leicester)


Energy and water are the most controllable elements in a school’s budget and by using simple and cost-effective measures, utility bills can often be reduced.

Soar Valley College is a community comprehensive school in the City of Leicester. It is bigger than most secondary schools with 1211 students on the roll. The age range of students is 11 to 16 years. The catchment area is, demographically, very broad, with children from many different backgrounds and cultures. The college has projects funded by Excellence in Cities (EiC) and is working towards gaining specialist status as a technology college (note: the EiC programme provided funding with the aim of raising standards and transforming the culture of low expectations and achievement in schools in England’s most deprived cities, towns, and rural areas).

The school covers a large campus making the major objective to try and formulate a common energy policy to cover current and future building use. However, Leicester schools have had devolved budgets for energy and water since late 1990’s. Therefore no information on energy and water use was available to the local authority unless requested and the data was only billing based. Schools were unable to obtain profile data for gas, water or outside air temperature. To solve this problem, a monitoring system for the school’s gas, electricity and water consumption was introduced. This uses an automatic monitoring system to provide the school with detailed information on their consumption.

Building details

Type of building: Educational
Year built/ Floor area/ Operating hours: The school’s floor area is 12,513m2 and it was built in 1972. School hours are 9:00 to 16:00, but the school is also used during evenings and weekends. Cleaners and maintenance staff are in the building an hour before and two hours after the school closes. The school is closed for 13 weeks of the year.
Heating and cooling installed: Gas heating, serviced by electric pumps
Energy/CO2/Water label (before and after improvements if possible): For 2005, after installation of the water saving measures, the Display® ratings for the school were:

Energy: D

CO2: D

Water: B


Project Description

Aim The aim of the project was to introduce a monitoring system to the school to identify areas where the consumption of energy and water could be reduced.
Key points The introduction of energy and water monitoring to Soar Valley College has resulted in the identification and reduction of wasted resources.

_ Energy

_ Since monitoring started, the College has made good progress in identifying and implementing energy saving measures and behaviour. The school has prioritised known savings opportunities like switching off PC monitors when not in use, installing timer switches on vending machines, installing lighting controls and checking and ratifying utility bills regularly.

_ The electricity profile for the school (in the graph below) shows low overnight usage (considering the size of the College) and good occupancy control. However, monitoring helped to identify that over the holidays, electricity wastage was occurring as the pumps were working to service the heating system, shown by the smaller peaks to the right of the chart.


_ The gas profile (below) for the same period shows that although the heating is well controlled during normal occupancy, the heating was left on during the Easter break, giving the slightly lower peaks on the right of the chart.


_ The College was made aware of the electricity and gas wastage but no action was taken to reduce the consumption. This may be because the College is due to be replaced with a new school in 2009 and therefore it would not be economical for the school to make any further investment. As the site is oil heated, the opportunity to make energy and carbon savings by converting to an alternative low-carbon fuel is immense, but again, this was not seen as worthwhile given that the school will be closing soon. However, biomass boilers are being considered for the new build.

_ Water

_ There is only one water supply for the site feeding the whole school. Through using the monitoring system, a high base load for water use was identified (see graph below). A survey identified eight faulty urinal controls, which were replaced during the summer holidays (11th Aug 04) at a cost of €2600 (£1,820).

_ Although the bulk of the base load was reduced, there was still an opportunity to make further savings. Therefore the College instigated an investigation of water usage in the header tanks, to check for continuous filling and flushing.

Reason for inclusion as Shining Example: The Soar Valley College project highlights the large amount of energy and water that can be saved through the installation of automatic monitoring systems. Through this system the school was able to identify the large amount of water that was being wasted, locate the source of this waste, and then act on this information to reduce water consumption by more than 50%. Although the automatic monitoring system helped to identify ways that energy consumption could be reduced, these were not implemented because of the school’s planned closure.


Costs &


The original meter reading system cost the school €4,800 (£3,304), while the urinal controls totalled €2,600 (£1,820). These two systems have saved the school 4380 m3 of water annually, equating to a financial saving of €7,100 (£4,929) a year, giving an overall payback of 1.04 years.

_ The College financed the installation of the automatic monitoring and targeting equipment.
Benefits Installing the monitoring system has helped Soar Valley College to reduce the amount of water it consumes by 4380m3 (53%) each year, thereby saving money.

Partnership details

Partners&Roles Leicester City Council instigated the installation of automatic meter reading systems from Energy Metering Technology. The technology is designed to help identify opportunities to cut wastage and make savings by analysing the usage patterns.


Achievements Understanding energy and water utilisation helped the college to influence one of the most controllable costs any organisation has. With accurate consumption data the College has the ability to negotiate their energy costs.
Lessons Learned Key issues

_ The main aim of automatic monitoring and targeting is to help identify wastage and make savings.

_ Replication

_ Leicester City Council has a rolling programme to include City Council buildings, schools and colleges in the automatic monitoring and targeting programme. In addition, the Council is investigating the possibility of rolling out the system to small to medium sized enterprises.

To know more



Leicester City Council
Contact Prakash Patel
Phone +44 (0)116 299 5142

Arrangements to visit Contact Prakash Patel

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