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Saarbrücken - Germany


"Energy awareness for primary school children"


The municipality of Saarbrücken implemented a programme called Ökologische Schule (Ecological Schools) in the year 2000. In this project all schools are encouraged to reduce their energy and water consumptions. The incentive to participate is that the school receives part of the saving made (as all costs of the school are paid by the municipality, this means that the school receives money that it can choose to apply to its own projects). The Display campaign provides an opportunity to further develop the Ökologische Schule project. It provides an important additional tool to promote energy and water conservation to school children and their parents.

Building details

Type of building: Primary school; there are two buildings, both brick built. The "Red" building is in original condition, the "White" building was refurbished in 2000.
Year of construction/ Floor area/ Operating hours: Red building; built 1910, 1590 m2; "White" building; built 1904, 1375 m2
Heating and cooling / measures installed Natural gas boilers for heating and hot water; "Red" 1988; "White" a condensing boiler in 2000.
Energy label/CO2 emissions For 2003 the White building was rated A for energy use and B for CO2 emissions; the Red building C for both. In 2004 White remained the same (69 kWh/m2) but Red improved to B rating for both (99 kWh/m2). The White building was rated A for water use (79 l/m2) and the Red was rated C (235 l/m2)

Project Description

Aim To promote understanding of energy and water use amongst teachers and pupils and create changes in energy use behaviour both at school and in the home.
Key points The programme Ökologische Schule was already in place in this primary school (pupils aged 6-10 years) and the teachers were keen to educate them about energy and water use, although the teachers themselves had no particular expertise in this area.

Using the Display™ project allowed the teachers and pupils to collect monthly information of the school on their individual consumptions of energy and water, indicating savings or increasing of consumption. The results are shown on the posters which is displayed in each building’s main entry hall. The differences between the two buildings provide a good source of information to the teachers. The refurbishment of the "White" building means that it had external insulation applied to the walls, with a white painted render over the surface (thus making it the "White" building). It also had a gas condensing boiler fitted, new double-glazed windows and new low-water use toilets and wash basins. The "Red" building, across the street, was in a better general condition in 2000 hence not a priority for refurbishment, but the comparison between the two buildings is very useful. The same approach to energy saving and water use is taken in both buildings, and the pupils can see the differences made. The only opportunity for water saving in the "Red" building is the addition of rain water catchment tanks to collect water for the garden. To assist with the project, the municipality provides some educational materials to all schools. In GS St Arnual these have been used by the teachers for projects in the classroom, and pupils have worked together to produce posters on various aspects of water and energy use, including impacts on the environment, how energy and water are used by animals and plants for life, and how to reduce use of both in the homes and at school. The result has been an increase of awareness of energy and water use and pride in the performance of the school. This success means that the ambition to improve performance is shared by all and both teachers and pupils with the issues. It is important to note that this is not the initiative of just one teacher, but is shared throughout the school. There is a realisation that they are educating the children not just for the future but also to educate their parents!

Reason for inclusion as Shining Example The two factors that make this a Shining Example are the involvement of the whole school in the issue, not just a few teachers; and the way that Display™ has been integrated with a second programme to produce long-lasting results. It is this integration that makes the scheme work so well as the municipality helps teachers participate by providing suitable material for education needs, under the independent programme, and these are supplemented by the Display™ materials. The fact that the two school buildings have different building facilities makes them particularly interesting to compare the results for both energy and water use. The "White" building has an advantage in energy terms but the attention paid to everyday issues have given it an A rating and improved the "Red" building standard from C to B over twelve months.


Costs &


There has been no specific energy-saving work requiring expenditure. Provision of materials from the municipality is in-kind funding, and the school is able to spend part of its income from the Ökologische Schule on energy and water related projects if it wishes.
Benefits The main benefits are financial; under the Ökologische Schule scheme 40% of energy and water savings are shared by municipality directly with school. This gives the head teacher particular stimulus to continue with the programme and to use Display™ to do so.The energy savings do fluctuate, partly because of additional activities such as the celebration of the school’s centenary, it has been open longer hours, and energy has increased in the early months of 2005!


Partnership details The Display™ project helps to talk to other municipalities in the framework of the co-operation Quattropole, which is a network of the cities Saarbrücken, Metz, Luxembourg and Trier in operation since 2000. The stated objective of this network is to reinforce the economic strength of the area, in particular through the improvement of the communication networks. GS St Arnual is one of the schools being used as an example of the project to other schools in the Quattropole region (Saar-Lorraine-Luxembourg).


Achievements - Engagement of the school shown through production of poster in class and through activity in the local area.
- Encouraging other schools to participate and show that “you can also do it”.
- Extends this to the relationship with the Quattropole partnership
- Takes an existing programme one step further into real pride and understanding
- Since joining Display™ reductions in energy use have continued, until the recent celebrations of 100 years of the school, when energy and water use increased. This will be monitored to make sure that the readings return to their previous levels.
Lessons Learned - Teachers may understand the subject but need help with materials and ideas, and also help to state the energy issues clearly
- The school’s energy performance - “good, but could still do better” - is a message that people can relate to very well in the school context.
- Having a real incentive that benefits the school (i.e. being able to use the cost savings for the benefit of the school itself) helps to ensure that the message about energy saving are supported

To know more

Organisation Stadt Saarbrücken
Contact Jürgen Lottermoser
Phone +49 681 905 1576

Useful info

Arrangements to visit Contact Jürgen Lottermoser

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