Fitzmaurice Primary School in Bradford-on-Avon were celebrating today after one of their pupils won Energy Management’s annual competition to design the cover of the company’s Christmas e-card.
Over 350 Primary schoolchildren from the Wiltshire town entered the competition and the judging panel, made up of Energy Management staff, were impressed by the high standard of artwork produced.
Idris (pictured) won first place for his colourful depiction of Christmas, with fellow Fitzmaurice pupils, Megan and Daisy, chosen as runners-up. All three received Christmas goody bags from Energy Management owner Gary Weston, his wife Jacy and Energy Management Account Manager Emma Street.
“They were all excited to receive their prizes and it was wonderful to see their smiling faces,” said Emma.
“Our festive e-card will be going out to customers later this week adorned with Idris’ lovely work.”
As a reward for winning the competition, Energy Management will be sponsoring a school project focusing on internet safety, worth £1,000.
A number of children from Fitzmaurice Primary School will attend a course that will teach them how to be safer online, before sharing their new-found knowledge with the wider school.
Energy Management LLP has launched its treebate scheme: free trees to schools, colleges and academies that enter into a partnership with the Wiltshire-based business.
The inspiration behind treebate came about while the company exhibited at recent Academies Show at the NEC in Birmingham, where 250 Christmas trees were given away to visitors to the Energy Management stand, many of whom came from Education Trusts and standalone schools and academies.
Feedback was so favourable, “the best giveaway I’ve ever had,” commented one delegate, that Energy Management CEO Steve Retford thought it would be a great idea to extend the gesture beyond the exhibition and help engage schoolchildren with eco-friendly issues.
“We’re all striving for a greener future so any Education Trust or standalone academy or school that signs a contract with Energy Management will receive trees, free of charge, to plant within their grounds,” he said.
“Hopefully, through treebate, we’ll help the government to reach their target to plant 11 million new trees by 2020.”
In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive 26,000 miles – that’s over twice the national average for an individual car user and more than a lifetime of school runs.
Mr Retford added: “As we believe that energy education is fundamental to the future of the planet, one of our engineers will be happy to come into partner schools and academies to have a talk on energy-related issues and help students engage in the subject.
“There are many ways in which schools and the individual pupils can be more energy efficient and we’d be more than happy to pass on the knowledge that we’ve built up over many years.”
Energy Management has a proud track record in helping educational establishments save on their energy costs.
In 2011, North Somerset County Council (NSCC) sought the help of Energy Management’s expertise and continues to reap the benefits today.
Simply by checking billing errors and securing the best fuel prices at the right time, Energy Management’s procurement and invoice validation service alone has saved NSCC, and its 58 schools and academies, a quarter of a million pounds over the last three years.
As everyone in education is all too painfully aware, frozen budgets and rising costs have conspired to put schools and academies under increased financial pressure and led to cost-cutting measures. In some cases, this has even led to a shorter school week, in a bid to save on teachers’ salaries.
Energy consumption though is one area where cutbacks are positive, in that the less energy you consume the lower your energy bills will be. That said, few academics will profess to be experts on energy management issues, or have the time to dedicate hours to understanding the complexities of the energy market, which is where external agencies such as Wiltshire-based Energy Management LLP can step in to help. We always say that the cheapest unit of energy is the one you never use.
In our experience a secondary school of around 1500 pupils will spend approximately £100,000 a year on gas and electricity, with heating accounting for roughly half, and up to five percent of that overall figure could be down to billing errors alone. It may come as a surprise to people outside of the energy industry but around one in five of the invoices that we handle on our clients’ behalf are wrong.
Whether it’s down to inaccurate meter readings, ‘fat fingers’ inputting the data incorrectly or wrongly applied CCL and VAT charges, it’s a fact that customers often pay more than they should for their energy – or pay for energy they have not consumed. We have trained eyes that can shine a light on these errors and put right quickly.
Implementation of relatively straightforward energy efficiency measures can save schools money too. Indeed, a recent report by the Carbon Trust reveals that UK schools could collectively reduce energy costs by around £44 million a year.
For under-pressure schools there could finally be some light – LED, of course – at the end of the tunnel. Our highly qualified and experienced engineers review a site’s energy usage, from lighting, heating, boiler system management to air conditioning, and find traditional and innovative – but always sensible – ways of reducing energy costs.
Like any business or organisation, schools can grow. Residential development within the school’s catchment area, for example, may lead to an increase in pupil numbers and place existing facilities under pressure. Increasing the energy supply to an existing site or changing premises altogether if the current site has outgrown its use, can come with problems – and a huge amount of paperwork.
At Energy Management, we pride ourselves in our ability to manage such situations and agree the best terms and conditions with energy suppliers to ensure that clients are not caught out by such a change in circumstances.
We once acted on behalf of a manufacturing company in Northern Ireland that made the decision to close one of its struggling factories halfway through its energy contract. Punitive break clauses meant they stood to pay out over £1m in compensation, but thanks to the excellent relationship we had with the supplier concerned, and the leverage this bought us, the slate was wiped entirely clean.
If you would like to know how we can save energy within your school, organisation and business, please get in touch on 01225 867722.