Data used in Energy Sparks

Energy Sparks uses open data published by local schools

Energy Sparks is built on open data. All of the data you can see in the application has been published under an open licence. You are free to reuse the data for your own purposes. If you find useful insights then please share them with us so we can help make the service better.

If you do reuse the data then please use it responsibly.

How is the data collected?

The data is collected by smart meters installed in schools.

The meters are owned and operated by the school's energy supplier. In many Local Authorities, the local schools are part of the council's energy scheme and use a single supplier.

A school may have several gas and electricity meters. These may be installed in different buildings or to serve different parts of their premises. Currently not all schools have smart meters for both their gas and electricity meters.

The meter readings are transferred into our data store and then imported into Energy Sparks to create charts and summaries.

As there are several steps involved in getting the readings published as open data there can be a delay in the data being available. We estimate that on average it will take between 24-48 hours before the data is published.

How can you report a problem with the data?

Please report data problem so that we can correct the data and the application

If you notice something unusual or potentially incorrect in the data shown in Energy Sparks then please report it directly to us in the first instance. We can identify whether the issue is with how the data has been imported into the application, our analytics or whether its an issue with the raw data.

If you are a school who is using Energy Sparks and no longer wishes to be a part of the service, please let us know and we will remove your data from Energy Sparks.

Using the data responsibly

We recommend thinking carefully about how you interpret the data

Open data allows anyone to access and explore a dataset. But it is important to understand how a dataset is collected and what it is measuring before beginning to use it. This page provides additional background on the data used in Energy Sparks.

The degree to which an individual school is able to reduce or improve its energy consumption depends on a number of different factors. All of these may impact how the data could or should be interpreted. If you are reusing the energy data you should consider what these factors might be. For example:

  • A school may have already achieved significant reductions in the past, e.g as part of getting Eco-schools status. These schools may have to work much harder to see significant reductions. For them the goal is to keep usage low and stable.
  • School buildings and facilities vary considerably. Some schools have higher usage because they have swimming pools or other facilities that others do not.
  • Some schools are used during the evening and weekends for other community activities and events. This can change the energy usage profile of the school.

Weather conditions can also impact the amount of energy used by the school over the course of a day or week.

In short, some care needs to be taken when comparing energy usage for even the same school across different days and times of the year. Comparing schools against one another is also very difficult and is not recommended unless you have accounted for differences in infrastructure, size and the usage profile of the buildings.

This is why we have focused Energy Sparks on encouraging schools to become energy efficient, rather than creating a ranking of local schools. Our gamification elements primarily measure behaviour change, not absolute energy usage.

If you would like help with interpreting the data then let us know.