Staff at Moray’s primary schools are being urged to make greater efforts at saving energy after the local authority revealed their energy bill had risen by over £1million.
Members of the policy and resources committee will this week discuss the results of an audit carried out over the last year by the council’s energy team.
That has revealed the startling increase in energy costs for Moray’s 43 primary schools, with the report pointing to a snow-free winter that meant schools remained open – but used more energy as a result.
The report cites staff failures at some schools to undertake basic energy saving procedures as a contributory factor in the increased fuel costs, with the report saying: “The main common issues that were prevalent across a number of properties were that rooms were too hot.
“Lights were left on when unoccupied or not required because of daylight and equipment was left switched on.”
Following the main inspection the energy team conducted follow-up visits to Portessie and West End Primary schools where they found that their recommendations had been carried out. Further follow-up visits will now be made to other schools.
Energy supplies to schools in Moray account for almost three-quarters of the total energy use by the local authority. The report cites Moray benefiting from one of the mildest winters in the UK as being a contributory factor to the rise in energy costs.
“Information recently obtained from the Met Office shows that the north-east of Scotland experienced a larger fall in average temperatures in 2012/13 than all other areas in the country,” the study said.
It added: “In previous years cold weather has often been accompanied by heavy snow which caused school closures that assist to reduce energy consumption. However, in 2012/13 there was little snow during the prolonged cold periods.”
The 31.9% rise in energy consumption at primary schools was not mirrored in secondary school buildings, where the rise was just 13.4%.