Stage 3 project promoting school energy efficiency

Program Aims: 

  • To promote an understanding of different types of energy use and their effects on climate change
  • To investigate school energy use
  • To devise a school energy efficiency plan to foster a culture of sustainability in the school community (follow up activities).

The focus of this program is to investigate school energy use, the school’s carbon footprint and the consequences of increased energy use. The program highlights ways that students can contribute to environmental management at home and at school by undertaking simple actions to reduce their impact on the environment. Students will take part in activities designed to encourage positive environmental attitudes and actions including:

  1. Learning about different types of energy, where they come from and their environmental consequences
  2. Investigating the link between increasing energy use and global warming
  3. Using an interactive sustainable house display to learn about ways to live more sustainably and to reduce environmental footprints
  4. Conducting a lighting audit to investing school lighting use
  5. Building a solar car to demonstrate benefits of solar energy
  6. Learning how to track school energy use through Webgraphs
  7. Conducting a science experiment to investigate the effects of insulation
  8. Following up with ideas and plans to reduce school energy use.

Curriculum Context: Watch our Watts’, supports the Cross Curriculum Sustainability priority, and the Environmental Education Policy objectives of enhancing students understanding of the environment as an integrated system, and fostering values and attitudes in students that result in behaviour change for a more sustainable school and home environment. The program can also be used to support the Primary Connections Science Unit Its Electrifying.

Pre visit activities:

Activities completed prior to the day of program delivery helps prepare students for the day as well as linking the program to the class program.

Visit the EPA Climate Change Kids website to introduce the key concepts covered on the day.

On browsing the website you may wish to discuss with your class:

  • Terms associated with the environment such as: global warming, greenhouse gases, carbon footprint, renewable and non renewable resources
  • The link between burning fossil fuels and global warming
  • The importance of caring for the school and home environment
  • Ways people can change the environment that can have a positive or negative impact.

Follow up activities:

Investigate energy efficiency strategies for home.

Allow students to complete an Energy Efficiency Management Plan and collate the best examples to make a class/ school plan that can link to the School Environmental Management Plan (SEMP)

Plan activities could include:

  • monitoring the efficient use of lights and appliances
  • checking things are turned off when possible including the holidays
  • monitoring the energy bills or Webgraphs to assess total energy used, CO2 produced and any impacts bills or graphs
  • showing progress on energy reduction via graphs or charts, or in the school newsletter
  • devising ways to keep students motivated to be energy wise eg class awards / individual awards prizes, designing promotional materials, stickers for lights, an energy mascot’ etc.
  • informing the school community how energy consumption produces CO2 which leads to global warming eg library display, article in newsletter, presentation on school assembly etc
  • conducting a transport survey to focus on the impact of travel to and from school and devising ways to minimise travel emissions from the school community conducting an appliance audit (see pack) to calculate the wattage used in a typical week / month / year etc.

Follow up websites

Summary of Learning Sites, Activities and Student Outcomes

Learning Site Activity Student Outcomes

Students will be able to:

Your classroom 1. Where does energy come from 

Students learn about different types of energy and build a virtual model of a coal fired power station

  • Understand the process of energy production and its environmental impact.
Your classroom 2. Energy use and environmental problems

Students learn about issues associated with Global Warming from burning fossil fuels, and watch a film clip to learn about the link between energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions

  • Understand the link between non renewable resources and global warming.
School playground 3. Practical applications of solar energy

Students build a solar car, interact with renewable energy appliances and cook garlic bread in a solar oven



  • Appreciate the benefits and future uses of solar energy.
Your classroom 4. Energy use at school and home 

Students will:

  • watch a film clip on how energy is used in a typical house
  • play a game to match typical appliances to their energy use
  • learn about sustainable appliances and practices using an interactive house model
  • watch the ‘Heat is on’ DVD to learn about strategies to save energy at school
  • learn about the importance of conserving energy to reduce green gas emission to slow the pace of global warming
  • Understand the link between person  actions and contributions to carbon emissions.
Your classroom 5. Insulation experiments

Students participate in scientific experiments to test the effectiveness of different types of insulation using a sustainable house kit


  • To device a simple experiment to test the effectiveness of different types of insulation.
Your classroom 6. School lighting audit and Webgraphs analysis 

  • Students view their school’s ‘Webgraphs’ to see how efficient the school’s use of energy is compared to typical consumption and will undertake an investigation of various areas of the school to calculate the levels of light available (in lux) using a light meter. They will determine which areas of the school are over lit to consider in the energy efficiency plan.
  • Conduct a simple audit of school lighting to consider environmentally friendly strategies to reduce energy consumption based on the data collected.
Follow up 7. Energy Efficiency Plan

Students will, in teams, work on a design brief template to initiate an energy efficiency plan.  This should ideally be integrated into the School Environmental Management Plan.

  • Understand their role in contributing to ecologically sustainable practices to improve energy efficiency both at school and at home.

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