BEC Pioneers School-first Approach to Energy Learning

Like many organisations, Hertford Junior School is feeling the impacts of increasing energy prices.  That’s why the school has recently signed up to Brighton Energy Co-op’s Solar Education Programme (SEP), an initiative which helps our Solar Schools understand how best to use electricity from the BEC solar system on their roof, as well as how to teach the kids about it.

In liaison with Atlanta Cook, BEC’s Community Fund Manager, the work at Hertford Juniors has also involved reducing energy usage in general (such as heating), as well as allocating electricity-using tasks to periods where the BEC-funded solar panels on the roof are in operation 

The SEP programme also provides educational resources for teachers to use in the classroom so the kids can get involved. The first step at Hertford Juniors has been to identify the Eco Lead who will take forward the teaching aspect of the programme. 

BEC offers a £300 grant to help schools onboard the programme; together with our partner Energy Sparks (a national charity), we remotely analyse gas and electricity use, and identify where it might be optimised. Energy Sparks offers age specific educational resources to help schools understand – and then educate their pupils – about energy usage. The grant from our Community Fund was an incentive to get Brighton Energy’s 13 Solar Schools to sign up to Energy Sparks – the free online school specific energy monitoring and energy education programme. 

BEC was a pioneer in adopting this school-first approach to energy learning. Since we introduced Energy Sparks to the city, Brighton & Hove City Council have subsequently advised all schools in the region to adopt the platform, as has the Department for Education for all schools nationwide, through their policy paper Sustainability and climate change: a strategy for the education and children’s services systems’.

But increasing energy bills prompted us to do more. So – that’s why we now offer free energy consultations to help our Solar Schools understand how to use more of the cheap solar electric they produce during the day. BEC members funded a 60kW solar system at Hertford Juniors in 2019 and our panels save the school thousands of pounds each year, as well as reducing their carbon emissions. See all our project here. 

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