Helping the Education Sector Save Energy & Money
To operate a typical UK university, it can cost somewhere in the region of £500 million a year. The running of academic departments, undertaking research activities and maintaining building facilities swallow a large percentage of the budget, but with so many additional expenses, saving money wherever possible is high on the agenda for any higher education establishment.
Key Factors Affecting the Education Sector
Some universities are said to be on the brink of insolvency; battling policy changes and government legislations in an unstable market. The main influencing factors are as follows:
- Consumer Growth
Since Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) data has been introduced, the government has discovered a way to link the employment and earnings outcomes of graduates with their chosen undergraduate degree, and their chosen university or college. This allows students (consumers) to assess the direct benefits or losses through each degree, or course, and its provider. In turn, higher education providers may review an applicants product portfolio based on employability statistics, which could impact upon the number of applications, fees and funding for the institution.
- Profit Margins
The higher education sector has always struggled to maintain any sort of profitability. The constant changes to the sector send mixed messages to both institutions and students alike. If students are expected to pay high fees, campuses with state-of-the-art facilities and teaching are expected. However, providing such facilities, with increased caps and cuts, makes it difficult for universities to stay competitive.
- Alternative Options
A large pot of debt and no employment at the end of a traditional university degree has resulted students looking elsewhere to fulfill their higher education ambitions. Degree Apprenticeships have proven popular as students ‘earn and learn’ and, in doing so, have become far more attractive for a potential employer looking for experience. Additionally, the Apprenticeship Levy has incentivised employers to participate, in order to obtain maximum value from their investment.
It’s common knowledge that immediately after the Brexit vote, applications from EU students for UK course plummeted, despite the value of the pound making highly priced qualifications like MBAs more attractive to international students. However, the overall impact on the UK’s higher education sector is still unknown.
Testing Times for the Education Sector
It’s not only universities and colleges which are facing a plethora problematic issues, secondary schools and primary schools are also feeling the pinch.
Many schools are facing severe cuts and, as a result, having to conform to some very concerning concepts such as cutting staff numbers, cutting extracurricular activities and even cutting certain subjects because there is no budget for a teacher, for that kind of subject.
There has been resilience, in response to drastic budget cuts, especially as schools are still expected to sustain their upward trend in academic performance, year on year. Inevitably, this added expectation and pressure, without the additional support, has seen a sudden surge of experienced teachers and staff boycotting the profession, causing even more headaches for headteachers.
Similar patterns can be found in higher education establishments where, alongside the inevitable inflation of the living wage, and higher contributions to the likes of National Insurance and teachers’ pensions, universities are having to source extra funding to help battle the excessive costs. The problem is that there is no additional funding. Therefore, education establishments are having to look at other cost saving methods and opportunities.
Saving Energy and Money in the Education Sector
Having alluded to some of the issues and constraints the education sector are currently facing, it comes as no surprise that institutions are looking to money saving methods, wherever possible. And it seems that smarter energy efficiency is leading the way, benefitting both the education sector and our planet!
Simple measures can be taken to reduce energy usage in schools and universities. Just like at home, by keeping temperatures consistent and only heating the buildings when needed, as well as monitoring lighting by employing sensors, for example, are simple ways which help save energy and money.
On a grander scale, internationally, we are seeing how higher education establishments are leaning toward long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs), with renewable energy providers, to help reduce their carbon footprint and improve their bottom lines.
As technology evolves, there are more and more opportunities for the education sector to invest in machinery or solutions for the future.
Wilson Power Solutions: Education Sector Specialists
With the education sector looking for viable money saving options, Wilson Power Solutions began making inroads into this sector, not only to help save institutions energy and money but to reduce their carbon footprint and future proof establishments for decades to come.
Wilson Power Solutions have assisted several UK universities by introducing them to our innovative super low loss amorphous transformers, in particular. Such assets have seen some higher education establishments save on both of their energy output and financially.
For example, a recent project at the University of East Anglia saw a super low loss Wilson e2 installed. Empowered by cutting-edge amorphous technology, the big benefit of amorphous metal core transformers is that amorphous steel has lower hysteresis losses. Simply put, this means that less energy is wasted in magnetising and demagnetising it during each cycle of the supply current. Therefore, the transformer provides an incredibly efficient energy wastage solution, potentially saving the university around £3,500 per year on energy bills alone, amassing savings of up to £87,500 (based on an average 25-year transformer lifespan).
Results such as these, coincided with our dedicated customer service, product innovation, engineering excellence and strong sense of social and environmental responsibility, have made us a valued and trusted power solutions partner for some of the UK’s biggest universities.
The Future of the Education Sector
Whilst the future of the education sector remains in the balance, moving forwards, hopefully, Wilson Power Solutions can continue help contribute to this troublesome period the education sector is currently facing.
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