Ed Balls has urged schools in England to save energy by turning the heating down and lights off to save up to £750m to safeguard teaching jobs. If he has spoken to his cabinet counterpart Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, two objectives could have resolved.
The subtle reasoning to get schools to save £750m is the educational budgets are being reduced by £750m. If you achieve the first objective you maintain the status quo. If you fail your budget is reduced. Ouch either way!
There are schemes overseas which provide schools with more positive help. In Australia the government provides an AUS$ 50,000 grant towards installing a solar energy system in schools. This has five objectives:
- Educational benefits in understanding renewable energy in science and maths with the system performance seen on a large digital display.
- Cost reduction in energy used offset by the solar panels.
- Opportunity to sell the excess energy generated back to the national grid during summer holidays.
- Science and maths experiments in adjusting the angle of incidence of the sun and monitoring output and power curves.
- Lastly, and critically the most significant. It introduces children to the concept of renewal energy. They are great at promoting green energy to parents, and of course will inherit the mess we have created so far. Learning in disguise, it’s what education is all about
What a missed educational opportunity by the Schools secretary. Joined up education that could have given a great incentive to schools and inevitably funded by the power and solar industry.