Energy efficiency in schools: viewpoint of Chris Wilson, SPIE UK

Published on 22 August 2022

For many years, SPIE UK has been providing facilities management services to over 70 schools to meet their growing energy challenges. In Scotland, we’re particularly active in this area. I’m responsible for managing the energy efficiency contracts of 23 schools.

Efficacité énergétique dans les écoles Chris Wilson, SPIE UK
Chris Wilson Energy Manager at SPIE UK
Technology will play a key part to meet net zero goals, however you can’t underestimate the positive impact enhanced engagement with the entire school community has.”

At all 23 sites, we’ve installed smart meters that automatically collect electricity, gas and water consumption data. The data is then transferred to a dedicated  platform and analysed remotely by our experts on a daily basis. We have also recently started using a drone with infrared camera to identify potential heat loss.

There are many advantages. We can detect if there is excessive consumption and rectify the problem quickly, either via the building management system or
by intervening on site. We can also provide our users with predictive maintenance solutions or, for the long-term, recommend that they upgrade certain equipment depending on improved energy efficiency where applicable. It’s a much more proactive approach.

And it works! In 12 months, the consumption of electricity, gas and water in the 23 schools has decreased by an average of 25%, 26% and 54%, respectively. It’s a win-win situation for both the South Lanarkshire Council, which manages the establishments and achieves significant savings through this system, and for SPIE, which receives a set percentage of the savings in return. 

We’ve also installed CO2 sensors in the schools, which enables us to monitor the air quality of about 1,300 teaching environments, with some more closely monitored than others. On the basis of this data, we were able to identify the most effective solutions for reducing CO2 content in the air, from simply opening the windows to upgrading the ventilation system. The initiative is now ready to be implemented on a wider scale. The goal is to help protect the well-being and health of the students and everyone who works in the schools.