Cheney School Case Study

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From a very small outlay there had been terrific financial gain. By re-investing the money that we saved, we decided to take this project to the next level and asked Stark to install electrical sub-meters across all of our school buildings as we work with REDUCE YOUR USE to continue making further significant reductions.

Chris Honey, Head of Estates and Facilities for Community Schools Alliance Trust

Background

Cheney Secondary School in Oxford, is part of the Community Schools Alliance Trust (CSAT) that work with independent energy management consultancy REDUCE YOUR USE. Using a combination of a ‘back to basics’ approach and Stark’s energy analytics platform and data collection services, they were able to efficiently analyse the energy data from their meters and reduce overnight and holiday consumption on the electricity by 16% and by 14% on the gas – saving £14,000 on their annual fuel bills.

The school knew from their analysis that more could be saved but they didn’t have metering on a building-by-building level to look deeper.

Chris Honey, Head of Estates and Facilities for CSAT said “From a very small outlay there had been terrific financial gain. By re-investing the money that we saved, we decided to take this project to the next level and asked Stark to install electrical sub-meters across all of our school buildings as we work with REDUCE YOUR USE to continue making further significant reductions.”

Helping schools save energy for over a decade, REDUCE YOUR USE looked at Cheney School’s consumption data collected in half hourly intervals for both their electricity and two gas supplies. Analysing this data in granular detail on Stark’s online platform, they quickly determined that consumption for both utilities were on the rise.


Challenge

Wendy Cheeseman from REDUCE YOUR USE said “Stark’s data collection and energy analytics allowed us to accurately determine that consumption had been increasing 10% year-on-year across both utilities. Having this energy data was essential for us to begin putting a strategy together for Cheney School as well as provide a baseline against which to monitor progress.”

Firstly, REDUCE YOUR USE wanted to know what the school’s baseload was so that they could set a realistic target for reduction. Cheney School ran a ‘Switch Off Night’ where only critical systems were left on overnight, such as servers. Other items were systematically switched off throughout the entire school, revealing the true overnight baseload.

“We knew that items left on at night were often left on day after day, we could see it in the data. So, tackling night time waste would also eliminate daytime waste.” said Wendy. Wendy also began looking at the school’s out-of hours consumption for both electricity and gas when the school was closed. She identified that the total cost for Cheney School of waste across both utilities was £31,744, a staggering 25% of their total cost.

It was also found that the gas usage did not match the expected operational hours for the school. “There was one example, where the heating was constant during the Christmas holidays and had been this way for the previous five years.” said Wendy. After looking at gas data for the whole year REDUCE YOUR USE identified that 32% of gas consumption was waste – costing the school over £14k alone.


Solution

REDUCE YOUR USE proposed two projects to Cheney School which would empower them to have an increased insight into the consumption of both utilities throughout
the school, allowing them to continue to effortlessly cut costs.

Project 1: Sub-metering

After addressing all of the unexpected patterns of consumption, Cheney School needed greater visibility on a building-by-building basis to look for issues in more specific detail. By installing Stark’s proposed submetering solution, Chris and Wendy could easily measure the impact and efficiency of academic departments and equipment throughout the school on Stark’s energy analytics platform. They used this data to identify energy saving measures by changing patterns and behavioural attitudes throughout the school without the need for further investment.

Project 2: Gas

REDUCE YOUR USE worked closely with Cheney School to carry out simple, inexpensive and quick win actions throughout the school. These included correctly setting all times clocks throughout the school, whilst continuing to monitor their gas data in Stark ID to prevent ongoing unexpected consumption. The loggers really helped. The BMS was telling us one thing but the consumption told a different story. We found a plant room wasn’t even connected to the BMS.


Results

For the first time in five years, the gas consumption was aligned to the operation of both the school and external temperatures. By the end of the year not only had night time consumption reduced but so had the total consumption for electricity both out of hours and during the day.

Over two years the project had seen impressive consumption savings. The school had reduced electricity consumption by 26% and gas by 17%.

Chris said “We were very excited by the savings Wendy identified. We found that our boilers were not as well controlled as they could be. We found instances where our boiler controls had failed and the boilers were on but our control system said they were off. We could only have known this by looking at the energy data Stark collected from the meter.”

Wendy Cheeseman added “To reduce electricity, schools often think they need to pay for expensive projects. However, by going back to basics and checking that all of their existing lights and equipment that should be off is actually off, we’ve generated savings of 15-20%, often for no outlay. Savings can then be used to fund projects as a next step as Cheney School has successfully done.”

To reduce electricity, schools often think they need to pay for expensive projects. However, by going back to basics and checking that all of their existing lights and equipment that should be off is actually off, we’ve generated savings of 15-20%, often for no outlay. Savings can then be used to fund projects as a next step as Cheney School has successfully done.

Wendy Cheeseman from REDUCE YOUR USE

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