November 11, 2022
What is the Average Energy Consumption of Schools in Singapore?
All over the world, everyone is in a race to counter global warming that is threatening to tear apart the planet. This is our only home, but sadly, human activities have put it at the tipping point. To put it more clearly, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has said that "it is now or never" to slash global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Therefore, what are you doing to keep down global warming? In Singapore, no one wants to be left behind in this noble fight. For schools, this is one of the most important areas of focus because their impacts are pretty big. Therefore, school managements have to craft good strategies for cutting down their carbon footprints. This has to start with establishing the level of energy consumption. Keep reading as we establish the average energy consumption in Singapore schools and outline clear methods for cutting it down.
A Closer Look at the Main Uses of Energy in Schools
To understand the average energy use in schools, the first step is to look at the areas where it is used. At this point, it is also important to appreciate that the uses also vary depending on the nature of the school. For example, the energy use for most day schools is lower compared to boarding ones because of extended lighting time. So, here are the main uses:
- Space heating.
- Powering computers.
- Running machinery in schools.
Average Energy Consumption in Schools in Singapore
The average electricity consumption for 2021 in Singapore is 50.8 TWh, according to Energy Markets. This was a significant rise from the previous year and in tandem with the country's GDP growth. For schools, the average energy consumption is 67-240 kWh/m²/year. This is approximately 19% of the total operating costs of every institution.
The consumption is expected to increase steadily over time because of the shifting customer use patterns. This is in line with the rising global primary energy demand, which is expected to shoot up by about 35% by 2040. In schools, high energy use is driven by the need to make institutions more comfortable.
The rising rate of energy consumption in Singapore schools is following the same trend compared to other regions. Schools in Taiwan, China, and Malaysia also have energy consumption rates comparable to that of Singapore.
For most schools, the high levels of energy consumption call for urgent action by schools to help cut down electricity use while still improving the quality of services. This is only possible when you adopt innovative strategies, such as the ones we have highlighted later in this post.
Why Cut Down Energy Use in Schools?
The main goal for cutting down energy consumption in schools is to help pull down the costs of running the institutions. For example, if you can cut down electricity consumption by 5%, this can help to release funds that can be directed towards research or other areas. Other benefits of reducing energy use in schools include:
- It is very important in cutting down the carbon footprint of the school. When calculating emissions, energy consumption is used to determine Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
- Electricity use and the target to cut it down are important parameters for a school's ESG plan. When working on improving your company’s sustainability rating, reducing electricity consumption can be an important ESG reporting topic. Indeed, most stakeholders will always check the rate of energy use to determine their commitment to addressing the issue of global warming.
- Lower electricity consumption can help to attract and strengthen connections with different stakeholders. For example, the local community, authorities in Singapore, and international organisations will want to be associated with you for the green efforts.
- Helps to equip learners with crucial skills to drive sustainability to the next level. This will work even better when you combine cutting down electricity consumption with other topics like waste minimization and equity.
- When school energy consumption is pushed down, and alternative sources employed, this becomes crucial in cutting down the planet's reliance on fossil fuels. For example, more schools in Singapore and beyond might want to follow your institution's trajectory for better ESG ratings.
7 Tested and Proven Strategies for Cutting Down Energy Use in Schools
Now that you know energy-related bills are increasing for most schools, it is time to nip them in the bud. So, here are some of the best strategies that school boards in Singapore can use to keep their energy consumption as low as possible.
Shift to Energy-saving Lamps for Your School Lighting Needs
Is your school still relying on traditional incandescent lamps? These fixtures are inefficient and take up a lot of energy. Therefore, this is an excellent point to get started when targeting to cut down on energy consumption. You should consider shifting to LED lamps.
LEDs use about 75% less power compared to traditional lamps. Therefore, you can anticipate a major downward shift in energy use by simply changing to modern bulbs. The other lovely thing about these lighting fixtures is that they are easy to install. They also last longer and deliver better light quality compared to incandescent lamps.
Hold Some Classes Outdoors
Most schools hold their classes indoors, but it is time to learn with a difference. With the warm weather experienced in Singapore year-round, why not consider holding some classes outdoors to cut down on energy use? This would work best, especially for classes that are related to nature and biology.
When you hold classes outdoors, it means a number of things. One, you are able to cut down on the energy that could have been used for heating, lighting, and cooling the indoor environment. It also means that your students are able to connect with nature more effectively. For example, it will be easier for students to learn about the flora of Singapore and Asia when outdoors compared to indoors.
Take Advantage of Natural Lighting
Most of the days in Singapore are bright, and schools can use natural light instead of electrical lamps. If some classes or school offices are not designed to take advantage of natural lighting, it might be a good idea to remodel them. In addition to slowing down energy consumption, here are other benefits of using natural lighting:
- Lighting helps to create a relaxing feel among students and staff.
- With natural lighting, students are able to stay alert and focused on their studies.
- Helps to promote better growth of indoor plants.
To encourage more schools to use natural lighting in reducing electricity consumption, building designers are now factoring in the yearly movement of the sun. For example, you might discuss with a designer how to maximise the sun's radiation by adopting a north-south building orientation because Singapore enjoys an equatorial climate.
Shift to Renewable Energy Sources for Your School
One of the smartest methods of cutting down electricity or energy-related bills is shifting to renewable sources. If you can shift the entire school's electricity needs to renewable energy sources, it means there will be no monthly energy bills.
The best renewable energy source to consider in Singapore is solar because the country enjoys a lot of sunshine. To use solar energy, you need to install solar panels on the roofing and make some adjustments to the wiring system. Remember to also invest in energy storage facilities to have ample power for the entire school even at night. You should also consider working with international organisations, such as Climate Fresk, to tell your story and enjoy support in your sustainability journey.
Use Smart Energy Management Systems
How many times do students forget to turn off the lights when not in class? If you aggregate the hours when lamps in class, office or restrooms are unintentionally left on, the chances are that they will make up a significant portion of the energy budget. To avoid this challenge, consider installing a smart energy management system.
Smart energy management systems use sensors that notice when rooms or restrooms are empty. Then, they automatically switch off the lights or dim them. This means that you do not have to worry that students will forget to turn off the lamps at night or over the weekend. The management system can also be integrated to help monitor other things, such as the HVAC and water flow in faucets.
Upgrade the Kitchen
The kitchen can be a hidden energy drain line in your institution. Equipment, such as old refrigerators and microwaves, consumes more energy compared to modern models. If you replace the equipment with newer ENERGY STAR-rated models, it is possible to cut down their power use significantly. Indeed, it will be an excellent idea to factor in ENERGY STAR-rating for all the equipment, including the lighting fixtures, to further pull down electricity consumption.
Install CONTINEWM to Improve the Efficiency of the HVAC
CONTINEWM is one of the latest innovations used to help improve the efficiency of HVAC systems in schools. Once installed, it can help to cut down energy use by up to 50%. As the AC runs to heat or cool the school rooms, the moving parts create electrostatic charges that cause resistance to smooth airflow. CONTINEWM works by continuously generating negative charges to neutralise the positive charges, resulting in the smooth flow of air.
The good thing about CONTINEWM is that it does not just reduce electricity consumption, but also helps with the improvement of air quality. For example, it can help to clear bad odours from the air being circulated into the class and other rooms. Notably, CONTINEWM is very easy to install and maintain.
Most schools in Singapore use a lot of energy, which takes up a big portion of their expenses. The management of your school should, therefore, adopt the best strategies to help the institution cut down on electricity consumption while still guaranteeing the best environment for learning. You can use the strategies we have listed in this post for the best results. Consider combining two or more and review their success over time.