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Test of SMART Squad school resources shows how new positive energy habits in families can be encouraged at school - 29th August 2017

29th August 2017

Smart Energy GB, the voice of the smart meter rollout, has published the results of SMART Squad, a project which tested a range of school resources designed to bring about energy saving behaviour change in the home.    

The three month project was carried out in schools in Wales by the specialist education consultancy, EdComs. EdComs found that SMART Squad made a real and sustained difference to primary school pupils’ knowledge of energy efficiency, bringing them closer to the level of understanding that secondary school pupils already have and leading to a direct change in their energy conservation awareness and behaviours at home. Key findings included:

  • More than half of pupils (54 per cent primary, 57 per cent secondary) agreed they learned how to identify good energy habits during the SMART Squad pilot project
  • After a six week period significantly more pupils were able to identify a range of activities correctly as energy efficient after taking part in SMART Squad than a control group.  For example, 86 per cent of primary pupils correctly identified hanging clothes to dry rather than using the tumble dryer as energy efficient after participating in the SMART Squad pilot, compared to 62 per cent of the control group
  • More than half of pupils (52 per cent) reported conversations about SMART Squad at home immediately after participating in the pilot project, and this was sustained six weeks after the project, with 49 per cent reporting that they had spoken to their parents about SMART Squad ‘in the last few weeks’
  • The resources successfully encouraged more frequent energy efficient behaviour amongst pupils and their families: immediately after participating 61 per cent of primary school pupils said that they or their family turned the lights off every time they left the room, an increase of 13 percentage points over the rate reported before participating in the pilot
  • The majority of parents (83 per cent) were aware that their child had participated in a lesson on energy efficiency and smart meters
  • Before participating in the pilot project, 29 per cent of pupils said they were aware of smart meters: this rose to 83 per cent of pupils who said they were aware of smart meters immediately after participating
  • All 12 participating teachers said they would use the resources again

The resources tested, including worksheets, challenges and diaries, were used in 12 schools across Wales. Participating teachers reported that the resources engaged pupils and were a good fit with the curriculum, with primary school teachers using them within science, geography, PSE and global citizenship lessons and stating that they provided a good opportunity to develop numeracy and literacy skills and encouraged group work and class discussion.

Secondary teachers all used the resources under the science framework, with some stating that they valued the opportunity to use ‘real-life’ examples for maths, and others commenting that the resources engaged pupils because they were fun and relevant to their everyday lives.

Natalie Pottenger, a teacher at Alway Primary School, said “The content was good for bringing in numeracy across the curriculum,” and Kate Rees, teacher at Holy Name Catholic Primary School, said that her students had “really enjoyed finding out about saving energy and campaigning to make others aware. 

The SMART Squad project was initiated following publication of A Smart Route to Change, a white paper published by Smart Energy GB, setting out how everyone involved in Britain’s smart meter rollout should apply behavioural science to help change our energy use for the better. 

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB, said:

“The enthusiastic response from primary school pupils shows that young children can be a real catalyst for change when it comes to energy efficiency. During the test of our SMART Squad resources, they took their new knowledge home and encouraged their families to do their bit for the planet, leading to a pronounced shift in energy behaviours and awareness.

“The rollout of smart meters is engaging consumers with the way they use gas and electricity, empowering families to take control of their energy through positive behaviour change. As the national rollout continues, we hope to work with others in the energy industry and beyond to explore more ways that behavioural science can help Britain to reduce its carbon footprint.” 

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

The results of the pilot project to bring about energy behaviour change in the home via school resources, are available here.

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the voice of the smart meter rollout. It’s our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to get their gas and electricity under control. Our national campaign is reaching households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales. 

About smart meters and the rollout

Smart meters replace the traditional meters we currently have in our homes. They enable accurate bills, near real time information on energy use in pounds and pence, and greater control over the way we buy and use energy. The smart meter rollout is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain’s energy infrastructure. 

Almost 7 million smart meters have already been installed in homes and microbusinesses and every household in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered one at no additional cost. Contact your energy supplier today about installing your smart meter.

Smart Energy GB media contacts

For more information including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, infographics, photography and video content please contact the Smart Energy GB media team: 

About EdComs

EdComs is a specialist consultancy that helps brands and other organisations create value through partnerships with education.Their work helps brands inform, inspire and engage children, young people and their families, make a difference to communities and improve corporate reputation.

Smart Energy GB media contacts

For more information including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, infographics, photography and video content please contact the Smart Energy GB media team:

Helen Croney: [email protected]; 0131 322 6204 / 07921 458 041