Energy Sparks for Local Authorities

Energy Sparks provides an online energy analysis tool and energy education programme specifically designed to help schools reduce their electricity and gas usage through the analysis of smart meter data. Energy Sparks can help Local Authorities meet their climate emergency commitments, democratise access to schools’ energy data and empower school staff and students with taking no and low cost action to reduce their school’s carbon footprint.

Energy Sparks is a registered charity working for the public benefit to develop and promote tools, services and programmes to reduce energy and resource consumption and carbon emissions. Energy Sparks aims to educate the public, particularly young people, about the causes and impacts of climate change, and the importance of energy saving and reducing carbon emissions.

Energy Sparks is currently working with 820 schools.

Energy Sparks provides
  • An online energy management tool showing schools when and how much energy they use
  • Tailored school specific energy analysis
  • Ecoteam and classroom activities for pupils linked to energy analysis
  • Advice for school staff on taking impactful action
  • Automated alerts to let schools know when energy use changes
  • Improved energy and carbon literacy amongst pupils and staff and the development of transferable life skills

See our For Schools page to find out more.

Comparing school energy performance

Energy Sparks provides a school comparison and benchmarking tool to allow portfolio analysis of schools in Local Authority groups or across the whole Energy Sparks portfolio. This tool compares performance against a range of benchmarks including per pupil and per floor area, school holiday consumption and heating start time, and is a powerful means of identifying the worst performing schools to target with additional support and the best performing schools to feature in case studies.

The comparison function is amazing…; The data in the comparison tab will be very useful for analysing and reporting purposes, and it offers a wide variety of benchmarks. I think this is a 'fab' idea and very useful tool.
Kremena Renwick

Local Authority Sustainability Officer (Energy)

Highland Council

School Support and Additional Services

Schools are supported with:

How much energy can participating schools save?

Most schools participating with Energy Sparks can expect to achieve energy savings of around 10% in their first year of engagement with Energy Sparks, resulting in cost savings of around £2500-£6000 (depending on tariffs) and 8 tonnes of CO2 based on an average 2 form entry primary school. Energy Sparks' best performing schools have achieved savings of up to 30%, generally by reducing school holiday, weekend and overnight heating use and cutting their electricity baseload. Examples of savings achieved at participating schools are provided in the Energy Sparks' Case Studies.

What meters does the school need to join Energy Sparks?

Energy Sparks needs access to the school's half hourly energy consumption data from their Half-Hourly (HH), Automated Meter Reading (AMR) or Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETS2) smart meters.

Energy Sparks can act as a motivator for more schools to get smart/AMR meters installed where these meters are not already installed. Any additional cost to install SMETS2/AMR meters is normally off-set by the benefits of transparency of the school’s energy consumption, and the resulting savings potential. Energy Sparks focuses on no cost and low cost savings first, with most schools having the potential to cut consumption by up to 30% without significant capital expenditure. This means many schools can recoup the cost of smart meters within a few weeks of use.

How does Energy Sparks access the schools’ energy data?

Energy Sparks normally obtains energy data direct from the energy supplier or meter data collector (DC/DA)

Where schools purchase energy through a Local Authority contract, Energy Sparks will normally need a Letter of Authority and a list of the relevant meter numbers provided by the Council energy team. Sometimes, the Local Authority can set up automated data reports to Energy Sparks through their own supplier portal access. Where schools have alternative purchasing arrangements, they will normally provide their own Letter of Authority.

Each individual school will also provide permission for us to access and publish their energy data as part of their account set up, alongside confirming agreement with our Terms and Conditions.

I initially got involved with Energy Sparks as I thought it would inspire the children to be more eco-aware. Little did I realise back then how much we would be saving now! …We should be able to save £800 annually so that's over £15 extra per child per year - all thanks to Energy Sparks.
Andrew Marriott

Deputy Head

Federation of Bishop Sutton and Stanton Drew Primary Schools, Bath and NE Somerset

What does it cost for Local Authorities?

Funding from charitable trusts and foundations, community energy companies and corporate partners currently allows Energy Sparks to provide its services free of charge to a limited number of schools in certain regions of the UK. Energy Sparks is seeking new funders to allow us to maintain and extend our free offer to more state schools.

We can also support new Local Authorities as a paid for service. Access to the online energy management tool, education resources, training webinars, email support and a Local Authority dashboard costs £475 per school per year for state schools within a Local Authority cluster group. Complete our enrolment form to register your interest in joining Energy Sparks.

What additional support is needed from the Local Authority?

In addition to supporting access to the school’s energy data, Local Authority officers will be expected to support Energy Sparks with school recruitment using marketing materials provided by Energy Sparks. Energy Sparks is most impactful when it is linked with other sustainability focused activities ongoing across your Local Authority. Energy Sparks can often present to business manager or school leadership forums, school climate change forums or other appropriate events to promote recruitment and ongoing engagement and impact.

Find out more

What is Energy Sparks - an introduction
An introduction to Energy Sparks for eco teams
Saundersfoot CP School and Energy Sparks