First Look Blog

Articles written by the First Look team.


2016 – START DEVELOPING AN ENERGY EFFICIENCY STRATEGY FOR YOUR SCHOOL

Published by Ken Nunes on 21/01/2016


We wish you all a very Happy New Year for 2016.
At First Look™, we begin the year full of ambition to continue the strategy we are developing, in terms of spreading our ever-increasing knowledge of Energy and Water Efficiency in the Education Sector. This includes gathering statistics of consumption and cost in schools, through carefully studying Municipal Invoices, as well as carrying out real-time monitoring and online reporting, where measurements of consumption are taken every 15 minutes for a full year.
The importance of this cannot be overstated. The International Energy Agency Report of 2015, entitled: Energy Efficiency Indicators – Fundamentals on Statistics (Page 19), tell us: “Collecting data and developing indicators should not be seen as an end in itself, more a beginning for future use…data should be collected and indicators developed only if they can be used widely and efficiently.”
It is sometimes difficult for this message to be readily understood, given the fact that Municipal Invoices are upon us each and every single month of the seemingly endless year, where escalating costs somehow blinds us of the potential for action. However, it is importance for school’s Administrators and SGB to fully grasp the need for “collecting data and developing indicators…”
Developing a coherent strategy on saving electricity and water can only be efficiently achieved through gathering and applying data and indicators. Without data, the schools Administrators are effectively taking trial and error decisions, which from experience will eventually prove costly. Yes it is better that doing nothing!!! However, in the absence of data and indicators, this action cannot be considered strategic.
This effectively, is the essential motivation of the FirstLook™ Team.
For 2016, our intention is to focus on developing a relationship with individual schools and extending this to “clusters” of schools in the Districts throughout Gauteng. We aim to encourage information sharing, as well as collective action. Neighbouring schools will therefore be able to benefit from each other’s experience, not only learning from the good things being done, but also the not so good things.
This strategy will be further enhanced through the development of our online platform FirstLook™, where additional indicators are envisaged, including reporting:
  • Average monthly kWh costs;
  • Average Daily Consumption during and outside school hours (for schools with real-time monitoring installed);
  • Differentiating Estimated and Actual Readings of Municipal Invoices;
  • Creating separate indicators for Primary schools and High/Secondary schools;
  • Developing a League Table of Most Efficient Schools in Gauteng;
  • Organising monthly meetings at the offices of Suntricity, between District Principals, together with similar meetings between School’s Caretakers, intending to develop the sharing of information.
  • Although initiated in 2015, by Q3, we aim to be more actively gathering data and indicators for other Provinces in South Africa.
  • By the end of 2016, we aim to have data of at least 500 schools in Gauteng on FirstLook™.
Much work is needed to ensure costs are kept to a minimum and the collaboration of all schools is deeply appreciated.
We look forward to our continued dialogue.