School carbon emissions targets – Things I Learned This Week #6

1. Schools create 2% of UK greenhouse gases, and have a target of a 53% cut in energy emissions by 2020

imageAccording to the government’s carbon management strategy for schools, "Climate change and schools" on Teachernet, the government target for schools is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% below 1990 levels by 2020 - and, because schools’ energy use has gone up since 1990, this equates to a 53% cut on current emissions. (This is higher than the 2008 Climate Change Act, which set a target of a 34% reduction for the UK). Now the good news is that the government believe that new school capital programmes (like BSF and the Primary Capital Programme) will lead to a 44% reduction compared to current levels.

Schools’ emissions from total energy use in school buildings have increased by 24% from 1990 to 2006, with the largest increase being in electricity (up by 31%). The theory is that the increase in electricity consumption has in part been due to the widespread roll-out of ICT, as well as the extension of school hours.

The document identifies a number of key groups that are stakeholders in achieving the reduction targets. And it does identify IT teams (although they are lower down the priority list than caretakers!)

Building Managers/Facilities Managers/Caretakers/ICT Technicians
A highly important group of people, who need to be experts in managing heating, lighting and other systems, and training users of the building. These groups are often active in equipment specification and liaison with suppliers, and may be the key contact for Local Authority Energy/Sustainability Managers.

You can find the fully detailed report "Climate change and schools" on Teachernet.

2. In Microsoft Office, 60% of people print more than 60 times per month.

Yet another proof, were it needed, that the paperless office is further away, rather than closer. And from the same source, another Office 2007 statistic - Insert Picture is the fourth most common command on the Insert tab and is used by nearly one-third of Office users.

3. Four out of five schools haven’t yet virtualised their servers

I’ve been writing quite a bit about virtualisation recently, because it is one way of saving money on both your IT and energy budgets (and in the context of the carbon reduction targets above, a big help for that too). And in the latest Becta Harnessing Technology school survey, the data showed that just 21% of schools have virtualised one or more of their servers. The average cost saving being quoted by secondary schools who have virtualised their servers is over £20,000, so there’s potentially a saving of more than £55M possible if all secondary schools were to virtualise their servers.

The comparison of virtualisation for other parts of schools’ IT infrastructure is:

  • Virtualising Storage – 10%
  • Virtualising Applications – 10%
  • Virtualising desktop environments – 8%
  • Virtualising Networks – 6% (to be honest, I’m not quite sure what this means, but 6% of schools have done it, according to the survey!)

There’s plenty of other useful information within the Harnessing Technology survey, but it takes a while to find it amongst the tables and the report document, so I’m going to try and put some time aside to dig deeper over the next week or so.

Comments (2)

  1. Andrew BUtters says:

    "Virtualising Networks – 6%" I take this to mean consolidating multiple physically separate Admin and Curriculum networks into a single physical network, and using VLANS to create virtual admin and virtual curriculum networks thus still keeping data seperate.  

    Benefits are :

    1. Reduction in the number of switches / network cabinets etc. (and thus long term savings in electricity and replacement costs)

    2. Increase in flexibility of network drops (any network drop can be either a curriculum drop or an admin drop at the click of the Network Manager’s mouse).

  2. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I hadn't thought of that aspect of virtualising networks, so that's a good set of points.


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