How to guide


> Switch Off
Switch off the big energy eaters and step outside


Would life really be so bad without electricity? Candlelit dinners, cooking by candlelight, reading by candlelight, finding your keys by candlelight, falling into the toilet in the middle of the night by candlelight … OK, electricity is pretty good. But (yes, of course there is a ‘but’) it’s not all good. Producing energy actually uses up valuable natural resources as well as creating greenhouse gases. These greenhouse gases are having a huge impact on our environment (we’re talking climate change).

The big energy users in schools are lights, electronics (such as computers, laptops and interactive whiteboards) and anything that does heating or cooling: heaters, air conditioners, water heaters and fridges. When switched on for up to eight hours a day, five days a week, that’s an incredible forty hours of energy zapping per item per week!

By simply switching off big energy users and stepping outside the classroom you can help save valuable resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save yourself money!

How To Do It

Choose one of the following actions to help your school power down or come up with another bright idea of how to switch off and save:

  • Go solar: switch off one of the big energy eaters and swap to a solar alternative (e.g. switch off lights and swap to solar powered lamps). You could even run a competition to see who can design the best alternative solar powered device.
  • Run a switch off day/week at your school where classes nominate a time of day to switch everything off and hold the class outside. Turn it into a school challenge and see how many classes can be run outdoors in a single day or over the week.
  •  Organise a power down pledge among students and see how many days they can go without switching on one (or more) of the following: TV, computer, stereo, hairdryer, heater or air conditioner.

Quick tip: Document your energy saving ideas and outside learning adventures to share on social media and spread the word about the benefits of switching off.

Whole School tip

See how many classes you can get to switch off and learn outside. Have a roster for different times of the day or days of the week that classes switch off, or try to get all classes to switch off and step outside for a combined outdoor learning day!

What’s Our Impact?

To measure your energy savings use the following as a guide:

  • 1kWh of energy used = 1.4 kg of CO2e emissions (CO2e)

Can you work out how much CO2e you saved by switching off or swapping to solar?

Quick tip: You could also get a power metre and measure how much energy your classroom uses during a typical lesson versus when you switch off and step outside.


Fast Facts

In Australia 95% of electricity is produced from burning fossil fuels.

One third of the greenhouse gas emissions in Australia come from fossil fuel electricity generation.

Australians use approximately four times more energy per person than the world average.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75% less energy than a regular bulb and last up to ten times longer.

A computer switched on for eight hours a day can generate over 600kg of greenhouse gases per year.

Ceiling fans are cheap to run and can be used for both heating and cooling.