Energy is now a compulsory Eco-Schools topic. Any centre applying for your Green Flag award after 1st January 2011 must demonstrate how you’ve tackled Energy as part of your Eco-Schools project work.
Eco-Schools are working in collaboration with the Pod – EDF Energy’s programme for greener schools - to provide a range of practical and measurable activities that can be carried out in a learning environment or at home.
The Pod offers high-quality, cross-curricular teaching resources, including information packs, lesson plans, assemblies and templates. The activities can be run either by a small group or by an Eco-School committee. The Pod has many whole school projects and offers a place for teachers and pupils to share ideas and inspire each other, parents and the local community to be greener. Why not show off your projects by posting pictures and blogs on the site and say ‘we’re doing it, why don’t you’
In 2008, due to popular demand, the Pod launched a new area for your users. It’s aimed at 4-7 year olds, but can also be used with pre school children. There are bright and engaging characters to introduce the topics, for example Peter the Owl who will teach children how they can save energy. There are four great interactive games as well as activity sheets and Key Stage 1 lesson plans.
All Pod activities are accredited by Eco-Schools and will count towards your Bronze, Silver or Green Flag award..
The importance of cutting energy
In 2007, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) predicted that commercial CO2 emissions were projected to rise by 17% between 2007 and 2025. DECC’s latest Carbon Reduction Commitment impact assessment also estimates that targeted bodies emit 53.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) launched in April 2010 and covers both public and private sectors of the economy. It aims to help these sectors to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% relative to their 1990 level by 2050.
Energy for Early Years
The rising cost of fuel can mean that the energy required for heating, lighting and powering equipment in an ordinary children’s centre can be costly. However, by making small changes there can be a massive variation in how much money is spent on your energy bills. As part of Eco-Schools you’re required to complete an environmental review – this will enable you to assess how energy efficient your centre is and what can be improved.
When completing the environmental review ask the children to tour your centre with you. Not only will this ensure that the children are involved in the Eco-Schools process, it will also increase their awareness of the Nine Topics in relation to their own environment.
Ask the children to count how many lights are needlessly switched on, computers left on standby or windows and doors left open wasting heat. Once the tour has finished, discuss with the children how they can save energy and why it’s important.
The energy topic can also be closely tied into an art project. Work with the children to design ‘switch off’ posters and stickers to place around the centre and above the light switches. By completing such activities not only will the children’s knowledge of energy and the need to preserve it increase, you will also be meeting a number of the Early Years Foundation Stage learning outcomes.
Outcomes pupils can achieve
Work as part of a group or class, taking turns and sharing fairly
Interacting with others, negotiating plans and activities and taking turns in conversation
Counting reliably up to ten everyday objects
Recognising numerals one to nine
Recognising, counting, ordering, writing and using numbers up to 20
Showing curiosity and interest by exploring surroundings
Finding out about and identifying some features of living things, objects and events they observe
Visit our Resources & Links section for information on energy and the different agencies which can help your centre.
There are also further activities available, including a Rupert Bear energy dot to dot picture and a Rupert Bear energy comic strip
Display Energy Certificates
Centres have been required to provide details of their Display Energy Certificate (DEC) when applying for the Bronze, Silver or Green Flag awards since September 2010.
As part of the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, all public buildings (including local authority owned centres) with a floor area of over 1,000m2 are required to display a certificate which rates their energy use on a scale of A-G.
The Display Energy Certificate (DEC) looks like the A-G rating you would expect to see when purchasing a new fridge or freezer. It’s part of the Green Flag criteria to include your DEC with your application form. This is so Eco-Schools can collect data to establish any trends. Currently, if your centre’s floor area is under 1,000m2, you’re not required to submit your DEC. Find out more about DECs.