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Energy saving competition cut school power use in half

Release Date: 04 November 2011


Several schools in Perth's Eastern region have issued a challenge to other schools and the community to save energy and cut power bills.

Concern about increasing power costs and the environmental impact of wasteful energy habits led Mundaring Christian College to enter the Bring it Down competition offered by the Perth Solar City program led by Western Power.

The school students surprised themselves, not only by winning but by cutting their power use over seven weeks by 54%.

Energy Minister Peter Collier visited the school today to congratulate them for winning a $10,000 eco makeover of energy efficiency upgrades and for leading the way in showing that with little effort real cuts can be made to power use.

"Mundaring Christian College made a few practical changes to daily routines, such as switching off computers at the end of the day and when they are not in use, and switching off power supplies and heating or cooling that is not required to achieve an outstanding reduction in energy consumption.

"Students also took part in educational lessons and programs at the school which helped them understand the value of making a few simple changes," Minister Collier said.

Western Power's Perth Solar City Program Manager, Andrew Blaver said Mundaring Christian College made an overall 54% reduction against their historical weekly baseline, including an amazing 60% reduction in the last week of the competition. Hillside Christian College was close behind with a 45% overall reduction. Ballajura Community College, the largest participating school, made the biggest overall energy saving in the competition of 23,560 kWh - $5,800 worth of energy!

"These schools have told us that the key to their success was access to real time energy use.  By knowing how and when they were wasting energy - they were able to start saving" Mr Blaver said.

Together all the schools reduced energy use by 33% and saved almost 65,000 kWh in seven weeks. This equates to 60 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and the combined savings are worth about $16,000. The weekly energy savings could power 10 homes.

Changes made by Mundaring Christian College included:

  • Turning lights off in empty rooms, and placing a notice next to the light switch
  • Taking out one fluorescent globe from double globe fixtures where practicable
  • Making sure that all overnight security lights are set correctly, not coming on during daylight hours
  • Making sure all desktop computers were turned off at the wall overnight and that Notebook Trolleys were turned off when the trolley was being charged.
  • An incentive for staff to be aware of heater/air-conditioner use and to be efficient without compromising student comfort
  • Turning all photocopiers and electrical equipment off at the wall over night or through the holiday period saving on residual power when these are normally left in sleep mode
  • Teachers taking posters off their windows to let natural light in the classrooms reducing the need for lighting
  • Students being given monitor roles to turn lights out in empty rooms and inform the teacher of the error of their way.
  • Continually telling the Principal to turn his light off when he was not in his office

"This program has sent a clear message to the wider community that we all could be more mindful when consuming energy - actions that don't necessarily have to impede our lifestyles. 

"Cutting down our energy use leads to better outcomes for our environment and hip pockets," Minister Collier said.

Perth Solar City is part of the Australian Government's $94 million Solar Cities program and is managed locally by Western Power.  

Schools competing for the eco-makeover prize included Upper Swan Primary School, Ballajura Community College, Woodbridge Primary School, Mundaring Christian College, Hillside Christian College, Swan View Senior High School and Weld Square Primary School.

For more information on Perth Solar City visit:



Media Contact

For all media enquires, please contact:

Marisa Chapman
Media and Government Communications Manager, Western Power
Phone: (08) 9326 6365