Bath:Hacked win £7k grant for project to help schools reduce energy usage

The Energy Sparks collaboration will build an app to help schools better visualise their energy data
16th September 2016

Community-led open data initiative Bath: Hacked, in collaboration with voluntary environmental organisation Transition Bath, environmental consultancy firm Resource Futures and Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES), has been awarded a grant by the Open Data Institute (ODI) to develop an app for local schools to help them track their energy usage.

It’s hoped that the project, named Energy Sparks, will help schools to better visualise and therefore reduce their energy usage through the gamification of energy saving and by providing easy-to-read graphs of schools’ smart meter data.

“We want to help schools become more energy efficient”

 

Taking more about the project, Leigh Dodds, Chair at Bath:Hacked told the ODI: “We want to help schools become more energy efficient. This will save them money and benefit the environment.

“We plan to do this by giving them better access to their energy usage data, presenting it using simple, easy-to-understand visualisations that the whole school, including the pupils, can access and use. The visualisations will help show how their energy usage is changing over time and how it responds to interventions at the school.”

Collaborative Sparks

Project Energy Sparks came about following a competition run by B&NES and Resource Futures with 13 Bath schools to raise awareness of energy usage. This saved an average of 20% of each school’s energy consumption. Following this, Transition Bath developed a prototype website at a Bath:Hacked environment hack weekend that displayed a school’s energy consumption.

Environment Hack: Bath:Hacked attendees hard at work
at the environment hack weekend that formed
part of the inspiration for Energy Sparks

It was this combination of events that brought the four organisations together and inspired them to make a joint application for an ODI grant.

“I think we benefit from a great mix of local skills and experience”

 

Chatting about the benefits of a collaborative approach, Leigh tells us: “I think we benefit from a great mix of local skills and experience. Everyone is bringing something different to the table, whether it’s data and technology skills, an understanding of energy usage, or experience of working with children and schools.”

He adds: “Right now we’re kicking off the background research and the application development. I’m speaking to some local developers to get a team together and the goal is to get it ready for use by end of the year.

“The whole thing will be open source and open data, so if people are interested in getting involved, that would be awesome”

 

“The whole thing will be open source and open data, so if people are interested in getting involved, that would be awesome. I’m hoping it’ll be a great way to celebrate the skills of the local community.”

Following the launch of the app, the team has plans to run another school energy competition across 10 Bath schools with up to 1,000 pupils in January 2017 – inspiring the next generation of energy sparks and reducing their impact on the environment at the same time.

Thanks to Leigh for telling us all about the Energy Sparks project. You can follow the progress of the project via Twitter: @energy_sparks. And, if you want to get involved in the project, you can contact Leigh via email at: [email protected].

If you’re interested in finding more about getting funding or support for an open data project from the ODI, check out the ODI website.

[Image Credits: Pupil at Newbridge School: Resource Futures: Bath:Hacked event: Jon Poole]

Via: Open Data Institute and Transition Bath