June 3, 2022

Top Solutions to Reduce Schools' Energy Consumption in Singapore

The question "how to save energy at schools?" is one that has no direct answer but requires a combination of efforts to achieve targeted results. Most schools in Singapore use energy to provide a safe, secure, and conducive environment for learners and teachers. However, a dramatically large amount of this energy goes to waste, implying that money allocated for it is also lost.

Brice Degeyter
Brice Degeyter
Bizsu founder
School classroom utliizing bright natural lighting

With the rising cost of energy and shrinking budgetary allocations both in Singapore and across the globe, school boards and management are left with no option but to craft strategies for reducing consumption. So, which strategies should you adopt? Here are some tested and proven strategies that you can use to keep energy consumption in your school low.

A Brief about Energy Consumption in Singapore

According to the Energy Markets Authority, Singapore’s total electricity consumption shot down from 51.7 TWh in 2019 to 50.8 TWh in 2020, primarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the consumption sprung back to pre-COVID levels in 2021 as the economy re-opened and in-person learning resumed.

In most schools in Singapore, energy consumption accounts for about 19% of the total operating costs. Rising electricity tariffs and the cost of natural gas have contributed to the rising operating costs. As Singapore is a tropical climate, air conditioning takes up the largest chunk of energy and electricity consumption.

8 Best Strategies for Reducing Energy Consumption in School

Start with a School Energy Audit

Before you can start trying to cut down school electricity consumption, the first step is identifying the current level of consumption. You can know this by carrying out an energy audit to pinpoint areas where changes can be instituted. Is it the computers in offices that are consuming a lot of energy or the HVAC?

The audits examine how energy is used in the entire school and the experts involved can even make recommendations for changes. Some of the things that energy audits check are your HVAC, lighting, energy control methods, and machinery use. During the audits, you might also want to:

  • Compare the school energy consumption with those of others in the region and globally.
  • Monitor the energy use over a specific period, comparing the shift in trends, such as when lamps are left on and off.
  • Rethink the best energy management plan to help keep the electricity consumption in the school low.
  • This might also be the perfect moment to review possible rebates, discounts, and incentives that might come your way for adopting green initiatives.

Optimize the Efficiency of the School Air Conditioning System

Air conditioning in most schools can take as much as 50% of the total energy requirements. Therefore, this is an important area to focus on if you want to cut down the energy use by a significant margin. Here are some useful tips to consider:

  • Make sure to close all doors and windows of the class or office when the air conditioner is on.
  • Check that the shades are drawn to cover the sun-facing windows with opaque blinds to keep the classes cool.
  • Maintain the temperature of the thermostat at 25.5 degrees Celsius or more. This can help to significantly cut down energy consumption in school because every one degree Celsius in the AC temperature setting can help to cut down around 3% of energy use.
  • Ensure the air conditioning system of your facility is maintained in top condition. Particularly, the vents should be checked regularly to ensure they are not blocked.

Use Continewm in Your Air Conditioning System

When targeting the HVAC in your school to cut down energy use, there is one more thing that you should not miss: using Continewm. This device is used to help clear electrostatic disturbance that prevents air conditioners from saving energy.

When an air conditioner is working, it constantly creates static electricity because of the friction of the air passing through. The positive charges disturb the air movement preventing it from flowing as expected. The impact is heat exchange inefficiency. To address this, you only need to install Continewm, which works in two ways.

  • Suppressing the Creation of Positive Charges: The device is always negatively charged and installed on the front of the heat exchanger, which means that it suppresses the creation of positive charges. Therefore, the air conditioner will not be impacted by the static electricity, and its efficiency will increase.
  • Eliminating Bad Odor: If the air getting into the school classrooms or office contains “odor components” that are positively charged, they are separated when it passes through the Continewm. This cuts down the amount of work your HVAC does to remove dirt, resulting in clean and healthy rooms without raising the electricity bill.

To read more about Continewm, check out this link: https://bizsu.co/continewm-ac-net

Switch to LED Lamps

This is another highly effective method of cutting down energy consumption in Singapore's schools. If your school is running on the traditional incandescent lamps, the truth is that they are galloping excessive energy unnecessarily. You can cut down the energy use by a huge margin by shifting to LED lamps. Let’s look at the numbers here by comparing two bulbs of the same brightness: a 12W LED and a 60W incandescent bulb.

  • Every 1000 hours, the 60W incandescent lamp will use 60 kilowatt-hours of electricity.
  • Every 1000 hours, the 12W LED bulb will use 12-kilowatt of electricity.

The benefits of using LED lamps do not end there. They also last longer compared to traditional incandescent lamps. Using the same incandescent lamp will last for 1,000 hours, while you can anticipate an LED lamp to last up to 25,000 hours. Why incur the cost of regular lamp replacement when LED models can last longer and deliver higher light quality?

Change the Television to LCD Screens

Light lamps are not the only types of fixtures that you can use to cut down school energy consumption. You can also cut down the energy use by changing the computer monitors and television screens. Most schools in Singapore rely on screens for viewing education materials, writing and entertainment.

If your school is still relying on the older and larger CRT models, they can be particularly inefficient and it is advisable to replace them. When compared to CRTs, LEDs of the same size can cut energy use by 50-75%. Now, imagine how much energy you would save by changing the old screens in all classes, offices, and entertainment rooms.

Note that although the LED screens might appear expensive to buy at first, the cost will be negligible in the long term. The picture quality of LED screens is also better compared to those of the older CRTs.

Use Light Sensors to Turn Lights On and Off in the Common Rooms

There are many spaces, such as classrooms, corridors, verandahs, and bathrooms that require being lit all the time for the safety of students. Safety always comes first, but the good thing is that you can use smart technology to only keep these areas lit when students are around. Using light sensors that detect motion, it is possible to always turn off the light when no one is around. When the sensor notes motion, it turns the lamps on automatically.

The good thing about smart sensors is that you will not have to worry about forgetting to turn the lamps off. When implemented in all common areas in your school, it is possible to cut electricity consumption by a notable margin.

Optimize Natural Lighting

One good thing about Singapore is that it experiences sunshine all year round, which means that you can take advantage of it to supplement the lighting in school and cut down related energy bills. Here are some suggestions on how you can do this:

  • Open covers of non-sun-facing windows to get as much natural daylight as possible. You might be able to keep the lighting fixtures completely off or only turn on a few.
  • Use blinds for windows that face the direction of the sun to allow only enough light into the classrooms, cafeteria, or other common spaces. 

To create a positive atmosphere without increasing energy consumption, consider using blinds with perforations.  

Increase Energy Saving Awareness in School

No matter the method of energy-saving that you pick, there is a risk of failure if all stakeholders (students and staff) are not involved. In most cases, actions such as switching off lamps, computers, or other machinery in your school when not in use might be all that you need to pull down electricity consumption. So, how do you make it a trend?

The best method is increasing awareness in schools through capacity building. You can hold seminars for staff on sustainable practices, participate in Climate Fresk workshops, and include topics on energy conservation in students' curriculum. You might even want to make it fun by running something such as green magazines where students and staff contribute to matters of energy consumption and broader hot topics like global warming and climate change.  

This post has demonstrated that there are a number of methods that you can use to keep your school’s energy consumption in Singapore low. Consider combining several methods to get better results from your efforts to cut down electricity or energy-related bills. Also, you need to review your efforts regularly to ensure the adopted methods are giving the expected results.