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Micro:bit schools energy management platform

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June 2018 to January 2020

PI: Keith Hempshall

Funded by: BEIS (through the Non-Domestic Smart Energy Management Innovation Competition)

Collaborators:

Samsung, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Lancaster University, My Utility Genius

Partners and stakeholders:

Schools participating in the piloting of the technology

Contact

Introduction

Many schools use and procure energy quite inefficiently. The project aims to tackle this by building an online information platform tailored to all users and managers of school buildings.  The platform will engage staff and pupils, supporting behaviour change and enabling smarter decisions about how energy is procured and when and where it is most efficiently used.

Summary

The platform analyses and visualises smart meter data and data from Samsung’s SmartThings platform and the BBC’s micro:bit technology to create an energy management system tailored to four different school audiences: facilities managers, energy procurers, teachers and pupils. Key to the Energy in Schools approach is the recognition that the process of gathering and making sense of all this data is a great opportunity for teaching: the project is therefore also about designing curriculum aligned lesson plans, tutorials and other teaching materials using the data so that pupils can solve the real world energy management problems of their school whilst gaining educational benefits at the same time.

At the heart of the learning environment developed out of this project is the BBC micro:bit computer and associated block code programming language. The micro:bit is a credit card sized programmable computer now widely used in schools around the world. Pupils and energy champions are able to turn the micro:bits into sensors, analyse data, control equipment, display the carbon content of grid electricity… in fact the applications are infinite. Phase 1 of the project started in April 2018 with a series of design workshops and interviews to develop the prototype. Phase 2 installed in 3 schools to road test the prototype. Phase 3, now underway and running to January 2020, is installing in 20 further schools and is critical to further refine and improve it the platform and get it near market readiness. Beyond the project, Samsung aim to roll the technology out to schools nationally.

Events

We are still looking to recruit a couple more secondary schools in May so if you are aware of any schools which may be interested please get in touch. No dissemination events yet set.