CASE STUDY

Stark’s energy management solution is top of the class

Achieving significant energy savings through data-driven solutions at Cheney Secondary School.

Cheney School logo

Background

Cheney Secondary School in Oxford is part of the Community Schools Alliance Trust (CSAT) and collaborates with REDUCE YOUR USE, an independent energy management consultancy. They employed a ‘back to basics’ approach along with Stark’s energy analytics platform and data collection services to analyse their energy meter data efficiently. They achieved a 16% reduction in overnight and holiday electricity consumption and a 14% reduction in gas consumption, resulting in savings of £14,000 on annual fuel bills.

The school realised that more savings were possible but lacked building-by-building metering for a detailed examination.

"We experienced terrific financial gain from a very small investment. By reinvesting our savings, we decided to take this project further and requested Stark to install electrical sub-meters in all our school buildings. This collaboration with REDUCE YOUR USE would enable us to make significant additional reductions."

Chris Honey, Head of Estates and Facilities, Community Schools Alliance Trust (CSAT)

REDUCE YOUR USE, with over a decade of experience in helping schools save energy, examined Cheney School’s consumption data for electricity and gas collected in half-hourly intervals. They analysed the data in granular detail using Stark’s online platform and quickly identified an increasing consumption trend for both utilities.

Project

Wendy Cheeseman from REDUCE YOUR USE stated, “Stark’s data collection and energy analytics provided accurate insights into the 10% year-on-year consumption increase across both utilities. This energy data was crucial in formulating a strategy for Cheney School and establishing a baseline for monitoring progress.”

Initially, REDUCE YOUR USE aimed to determine the school’s baseload to set a realistic reduction target. Cheney School conducted a ‘Switch Off Night’ where only critical systems such as servers were left on overnight, systematically turning off other items throughout the school. This exercise revealed the true overnight baseload.

“We observed that items left on at night often remained on day after day, evident from the data. Thus, addressing nighttime waste would also eliminate daytime waste,” Wendy explained.

Wendy also investigated the school’s out-of-hours consumption of electricity and gas during school closures. She discovered that the waste cost for Cheney School across both utilities amounted to £31,744. This accounted for a staggering 25% of their total expenses.

Further analysis revealed a discrepancy between gas usage and the expected operational hours. Wendy highlighted an instance where the heating remained constant during the Christmas holidays for the past five years. REDUCE YOUR USE examined the gas data for the entire year and identified that 32% of gas consumption was wasteful, resulting in a cost of over £14,000 for the school alone.

“To reduce electricity, schools often believe they need costly projects. However, by focusing on the basics and ensuring that existing lights and equipment are properly switched off, we have achieved savings of 15-20%. These savings can then be utilised to fund subsequent projects, as Cheney School successfully did."

Wendy Cheeseman, REDUCE YOUR USE

Solution

REDUCE YOUR USE proposed two projects to Cheney School that would enhance their understanding of utility consumption throughout the school, facilitating ongoing cost reductions.

Project 1: Sub-metering

Cheney School required detailed visibility on a building-by-building basis to address unexpected consumption patterns. Installing Stark’s recommended sub-metering solution enabled Chris and Wendy to measure the impact and efficiency of academic departments and equipment using Stark’s energy analytics platform. This data guided the identification of energy-saving measures by promoting changes in patterns and behavioural attitudes within the school. Which in turn eliminates the need for additional investment.

Project 2: Gas

REDUCE YOUR USE collaborated closely with Cheney School, implementing simple, inexpensive, and quick-win actions. These actions included accurately setting all time clocks throughout the school while continuously monitoring their gas data in Stark ID to prevent ongoing unexpected consumption. The utilisation of loggers proved instrumental. They revealed discrepancies between the Building Management System (BMS) readings and actual consumption. For instance, they discovered a plant room that was not even connected to the BMS.

Results

For the first time in five years, gas consumption aligned with the school’s operational hours and external temperatures. By the year’s end, both nighttime and overall electricity consumption had reduced.

Over two years, the project achieved remarkable consumption savings, with electricity reduced by 26% and gas by 17%.

Chris expressed his excitement, saying, “We were thrilled by the savings Wendy identified. We found that our boilers were not as well controlled as they could be. Instances were discovered where the boiler controls had failed, resulting in boilers being on when the control system indicated they were off. These insights were possible only by examining the energy data collected from the meter by Stark.”

Client testimonials

Kirstin McEvoySustainability & Corporate Social Values Manager

Just by measuring and viewing data on Stark you automatically see how to improve. Look at the data as often as possible. The more detail you look at, the better.

Kirstin McEvoySustainability & Corporate Social Values Manager

The more people involved on the ground, engaged and implementing energy best practices the better.

Ian RentonManaging Director of The Jockey Club West Region

With increasing energy costs, the focus on data and monitoring is more important than ever. We know this, so implementing KPIs around effective best practice, with sites recognised for their efforts, is a priority. We need Stark to achieve this.

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