Archive for December, 2009


Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

***Extended integration functionality, new Sonos and TwonkyMedia modules, iPhone-style interfaces plus faster and easier programming will provide dealers across Europe with a step-change in total two-way home control; Pronto exhibits at EHX@CES and ISE 2010***

With its latest generation PEP 2.4 (ProntoEdit Professional) software, Philips Pronto, the value leader in two-way control solutions for the home, is extending home integration and control possibilities, cutting programming time and cost for dealers and dramatically improving the look and functionality of the Pronto control panel family.

The new PEP 2.4 software now features enhanced UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)/ DLNA (Digital Network Living Alliance) compatibility.

The UPnP / DLNA engine now incorporated into the Pronto platform will accelerate the development of two-way integration modules between A/V servers, players and control devices, so providing a straightforward, single solution for controlling any product of manufacturers adhering to the UPnP standard. The UPnP discovery mechanism embedded within the software’s ProntoScript library will help the Pronto control panel automatically find IP devices on the network.

Significantly, these developments will allow Pronto to integrate Sonos multi-room audio systems quickly and directly into a system without the need for special hardware, additional PC’s or the use of a Sonos controller. The upgraded software will also enable Pronto to control and access content from TwonkyMedia-based equipment, being one of the most popular UPnP servers on the market. New Sonos and TwonkyMedia pre-configured modules are available in ProntoScript. Further ground-breaking partnership agreements for new Pronto modules are in development and will be announced imminently.

“PEP2.4 is state of the art software for the Pronto family” says Rudy Musschebroeck, Marketing Manager of Philips Pronto. “The new UPnP / DLNA engine together with the advance in automatic IP device recognition are giant steps forward for the integration potential of Pronto, as you can see with the launch of new Sonos and TwonkyMedia modules. And, with more modules scheduled for release, total two-way control in the home using one easy to programme, affordable and great to operate Pronto device is becoming a reality for dealers across Europe”.

Philips Pronto has also improved the user interface experience. A new Gestures feature in PEP 2.4 will allow dealers to create iPod style interfaces for a range of common functions, including super-fast scrolling of song lists and sliding volume control.

Other improvements in PEP 2.4 will make programming much easier and quicker for dealers. These include:

  • Re-sizeable and dockable windows to assist in more complex programming tasks, such as, creating user interface graphics.
  • Display and editing of multiple pages on a single screen to help with smoother, faster programming workflow.
  • Re-usable macros. Once set up and used, programming macros can be simply stored and re-used when configuring repeated actions in multiple locations in a project.
  • Rotary wheel enhancements. Actions can be ascribed to the rotation / counter-rotation of the controller’s rotary wheel eg controlling volume or light levels.
  • Improved font selection. Any Windows PC font can now be easily selected and used in PEP2.4.
  • Dynamic user interface. PEP2.4 brings improved dynamic graphic and text property control, adjustment and object manipulation through improvements to ProntoScript.

PEP2.4 can be used to configure the complete Pronto family of two-way, programmable touch-screen panels: the Pronto TSU9300, TSU9400, TSU9600 and TSU9800. Many leading CI equipment manufacturers have now joined Philips as a partner, taking advantage of the programming capabilities to deliver easy-to-use 2-way control modules for their components. The result is integrated control using richer, more responsive user interfaces for a growing variety of AV, lighting, HVAC and security systems. All application modules are very easy to use, and can simply be dragged into a Pronto project using the PEP software.

Close Proximity Signage (CPS)

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

How many times do you see large format LCD screens positioned high up or away from products being promoted? Clearly the aim is to broadcast to as wide an audience as possible. However, how effective are they are at influencing purchase decisions, when screens are difficult to see, have no relevance to products in the immediate locality or are simply perceived as TV advertising.
Close Proximity Signage is designed to be placed directly at the point of purchase using high impact screens that are easy to see, grab the audiences attention, increase awareness and influence purchase decisions.

Close Proximity Specialist digital screens placed near consumers in high footfall areas that are truly effective at raising awareness of advertised products located close by.

LED ticker
The LED ticker “stands out from the crowd” and is designed to attract the consumers attention. Messages can be seen from long distances, such as breaking news, special offers and waiting times.

LCD display
Inform. Promote. Advertise. Dynamic and visually engaging content that captivates audiences and influences decisions directly at the point of purchase.

“Purchase decisions are made within the first 3 to 5 seconds”

– Locate at the point of purchase
– Grab attention
– Engage consumers
– Influence buying decisions
– Increase sales

Remote Patient Monitoring

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Everyone likes their freedom. Remote patient monitoring helps patients keep more independence while still getting the care they need. Sensors and other connected devices can monitor vital signs and daily activity and transmit the information to caregivers, allowing patients more freedom to stay in their own homes. The systems can also provide benefits when used in care centers, letting patients move about instead of being tethered to bulky monitoring machines.

It seems that more companies enter this market every day, announcing systems for remote patient monitoring and claiming to revolutionize the market. One thing is certain: These systems are gaining in popularity and large companies are moving further into the market to provide them.

A recent announcement from GE,, Fairfield, Conn., shed some more light on the industry giant’s plans in the healthcare field. Through its GE Healthcare Unit, GE acquired Living Independently Group (LIG),, New York, N.Y., a company focused on remote patient monitoring solutions.

LIG produces a system called QuiteCare, which uses sensors installed in a patient’s home to constantly monitor daily activity and transmit the details to a central location. If abnormalities in the patient’s daily routine are detected, automatic alerts can go out to caregivers.

GE says LIG’s offerings fit in well with GE’s vision for providing better healthcare at lower costs. In the past year, GE has made other investments in its Home Health business, such as an April alliance with Intel Corp.,, Santa Clara, Calif., to invest $250 million in developing new technologies to assist with independent living for seniors and people with chronic health conditions.

As mammoth corporations like GE pour more resources into producing these types of monitoring technologies, it is likely the systems’ popularity will only increase. With people living longer and healthcare costs increasing, the need for systems that keep patients healthy with fewer restrictions on daily life shows no signs of letting up.

Smart electricity and gas meters

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Department of Energy and Climate Change

Smart electricity and gas meters

In October 2008 the Government announced its intention to mandate a roll out of electricity and gas smart meters to all homes in Great Britain. The aim is to complete the roll out by the end of 2020. The roll out of smart meters will be a major national project. It will involve a visit to every home and the replacement of some 47 million gas and electricity meters.

Smart meters pave the way for a transformation in the way energy is supplied and used. They will provide consumers with real-time information about energy use enabling them to monitor and manage their use. Consumers will receive accurate bills. Switching between suppliers will be smoother and faster and improvements in the delivery of energy efficiency advice will be supported.

Energy suppliers will be able to offer a wider range of services and tariffs and to manage their customer relationships better. Smart meters will also be an important step towards the development of a smart grid. Delivering improved network efficiency and responsiveness.

Smart meters will play an important role in our transition to a low-carbon economy. They will help us meet some of the long-term challenges we face in ensuring that Great Britain has an affordable, secure and sustainable energy supply.


In May 2009 the Government consulted on proposals relating to the roll-out of smart meters to households and small and medium non-domestic sites. The consultation addressed some of the fundamental issues for the roll out. The Government’s response to the consultation was published on 2 December 2009. The response sets out the Government’s conclusions and decisions following the consultation, in particular its conclusions on:

  • delivery model for domestic smart meters (Section 2)
  • high-level smart functionality requirements for domestic electricity and gas meters (Section 3)
  • provision of a real-time display and information with a smart meter (Section 3)
  • approach on smart functionality requirements for non-domestic meters (Section 4)
  • implementation programme (Section 6)

In addition revised Impact Assessments for the domestic and non-domestic roll outs, and supporting analytical consultancy work have been published.

All documents relating to the consultation are available on the Consultation on Smart Metering for electricity and gas web page.

Implementation programme

The decisions set out in the Government’s response provide the platform for the detailed work to prepare the way for the start of the mandated roll out of smart meters (section 6). The implementation of smart metering will be the largest and most complex change-over programme in the energy industry since the switch to North Sea gas in the sixties and seventies. It will have a profound impact on the services that consumers receive from energy companies, as well as on vital activities such as settlement and network management.

A major central programme is required to design and implement new cross-industry arrangements, in co-ordination with the change programmes which industry participants will need to implement themselves. This Implementation Programme will touch all parts of the energy industry and careful design and planning are needed to maximise the benefits to consumers and industry, while driving down on the costs of installing and operating the new smart meters.

The first phase of the Smart Metering Programme will be a joint DECC / Ofgem initiative. DECC will chair an over-arching DECC / Ofgem Strategic Programme Board. This Board will provide the necessary strategic oversight and direction to the Programme during Phase 1. It will provide a high-level forum for ensuring the Programme is aligned with Government policy objectives for smart metering and Ofgem’s statutory duties, and consider interfaces with the Government’s wider policies.

Ofgem E-Serve[external Link] will manage and ensure effective delivery of the first phase of the Programme for DECC. Ofgem’s detailed knowledge of the workings of the energy market, its strong relationships with industry players and consumer bodies and its regulatory role, mean it is ideally placed to help design the arrangements for introducing smart metering effectively into the complex structure of the energy industry.

Briefing event

Ofgem will be hosting a stakeholder event on 16 December which will provide a briefing on initial plans for the Smart Metering Implementation Programme. Invitations for this event will be sent out separately by Ofgem.

Related documents

02 December 2009 – Press Release – UK energy system gets smart

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Department of Energy and Climate Change

02 December 2009 – Press Release – UK energy system gets smart

  • All homes will have smart meters from their supplier by end of 2020
  • Smart energy use will save consumers money, make electricity use more efficient and cut carbon emissions
  • The case for developing smart grids in the UK is also being published
  • £6 million to develop smart technology

Smart meters will be rolled out through energy suppliers to every home by the end of 2020 under final plans published today by Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt. A paper setting out the case for developing smart grids in the UK is also being published.

Lord Hunt said:

“A global climate deal in Copenhagen needs all countries to make the most ambitious commitments possible, but it will also require all of us to change how we lead our lives and how we generate our energy.

“Smart meters will put the power in people’s hands, enabling us all to control how much energy we use, cut emissions and cut bills.

“Smart grids will help manage the massive shift to low carbon electricity such as wind, nuclear and clean fossil fuels.

“Globally the business of developing smart grids has been estimated at £27 billion over the next 5 years and the UK has the know-how to be part of that.”

The Government’s response to the smart meter consultation sets out how smart meters will be rolled out across Britain by the end of 2020. This includes:

  • Making energy suppliers responsible for installing smart meters in their customers’ homes
  • Supplying a standalone display device with meters to make it easy for consumers to see and understand their energy use and carbon emissions in real time
  • Centrally coordinating the communications between smart meters and the utility companies to ensure easy switching between suppliers, and to provide a platform for the development of smarter grids in the future.

“Smarter Grids: The Opportunity”, also published today, makes the case for developing smart grids in the UK. Smart grids will give operators and consumers much more information about supply and demand of electricity – enabling more effective interaction between consumer needs and fluctuating supplies.

Specifically smart grids will:

  • Deliver electricity more efficiently and reliably – reducing the costs and emissions from electricity generation and transmission
  • Facilitate increased generation of low carbon electricity sources such as wind
  • With smart meters, give consumers more control and choice of when they use electricity allowing them to save money.

DECC is also providing £6 million to companies to continue developing smart technology such as electricity storage.

Notes to editors

  1. The response to the consultation: Towards a Smarter Future: government response to the consultation on electricity and gas Smart Metering can be found here:
  2. The publication: Smarter grids: the opportunity can be found here:
  3. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is central to the UK Government’s leadership on climate change. We are pushing hard for an ambitious global deal in Copenhagen in December to avert the most dangerous impacts. Through our UK Low Carbon Transition Plan we are giving householders and businesses the incentives and advice they need to cut their emissions, we are enabling the energy sector’s shift to the trinity of renewables, new nuclear and clean coal, and we are stepping up the fight against fuel poverty.

Energy suppliers are to be responsible for installing smart meters in all households in the UK by 2020

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Plans for smart meters for millions of homes have been unveiled with trials suggesting the £8bn scheme may help people save £28 a year.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change wants to see 47 million meters in 26 million properties by 2020.

It is hoped the technology will help people cut their energy bills by paying more attention to usage.

Smart meters have a visual display allowing customers to see exactly how much electricity and gas they are using and relay the data to energy firms automatically.

Energy use

Trials of smart meters have resulted in some people moderating their energy use.


John Moylan, BBC business reporter

The government had already announced that it wanted all UK homes to have smart meters by 2020.

What is new today is that, following a consultation period, it has now decided how that will happen.

The main energy suppliers will be responsible for the roll-out.

This was the government’s preferred option, although there was a debate in the industry over whether it could be done another way, for example by the regional electricity distribution companies.

The government has also outlined its early thinking on the buzzwords in the industry at the moment – smart grids.

Potential savings outlined already by ministers are only a fraction of the current average annual bill of more than £800 for gas and £445 for electricity.

The £28 a year figure for savings has been cited as a conservative estimate for a typical household.

But the DECC says case studies had shown people could reduce their bills by about £100 a year as the meters can encourage changes in behaviour.

“Smart meters will put the power in people’s hands, enabling us all to control how much energy we use, cut emissions and cut bills,” said Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt.


Energy suppliers, rather than distribution networks, will be responsible for the roll-out of the meters at a cost of about £340 per household.

They will be able to recoup the cost from customers through higher bills or upfront fees, but competition between suppliers is expected to ensure only some of the expense is passed on.

The companies stand to make big cost savings themselves, with the need for teams of meter readers becoming a thing of the past.

Martyn Hocking, from the consumers’ association Which?, said: “We are concerned that consumers could be saddled with the entire multi-billion pound bill for a project that is going to save the industry hundreds of millions of pounds a year.”


UK homes add £33 a year to bills by leaving appliances on standby

Every minute taken off a daily shower can shave between £5 and £10 off an annual energy bill

Lowering the room thermostat by 1% could save a householder around £65 a year

Source: Energy Saving Trust

The plans, which also confirm that each meter will include a standalone display device, were welcomed by the big energy companies.

“We are delighted the government is moving forward with its plans for the roll-out of this technology throughout Britain,” said British Gas managing director Phil Bentley.

“This will be the single biggest revolution in energy use since British Gas converted all the nation’s homes to natural gas in the 1970s.”

Mark Daeche, of energy company First Utility, said the mass roll-out of smart meters would not begin until 2013. But from next summer, all First Utility customers who elected to have a smart meter would be supplied with one.

He welcomed the format of giving suppliers the responsibility for the supply of meters instead of a system of regional franchises.

Smart grid

Plans have also been announced for a smart grid to manage the flows of electricity and to increase the use of renewable energy.

In the past the National Grid has delivered electricity from large power plants to our homes. In the future the grid will need to be much smarter, according to BBC business reporter John Moylan.

“Computers will have to handle more volatile sources of electricity, such as windfarms,” he said.

“They will also have to cope with micro-generation – consumers using solar panels or heat pumps to generate their own electricity and sell it back to the grid.”

From BBC web site


Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009


Das Besondere an diesem Klassiker sind aber zweifellos die Freirunden: Sobald drei oder mehr Scatter-Symbole erscheinen, kann man ganze 10 Runden gratis spielen. Zudem ersetzt dieses Symbol alle anderen Symbole (siehe unten), wodurch sich interessante Gewinnmoglichkeiten ergeben.

Bei falscher Wahl entfallt der gesamte Preis. Die Range der Spielkarten sorgen fur kleinere Gewinne.

Dieses Spiel ist tatsachlich mehr als nur eine Book of Ra Kopie. Es bietet genau das selbe Gameplay wie das Original.

Viele kleine Animationen, das herausragende Design und der gute Sound lassen den Spielautomaten sehr modern wirken und es macht einfach Spa? hier zu spielen. Entwickelt wurde Book of Dead Slot von den Spieleentwicklern von Play’n GO, was schon fast von allein fur gute Qualitat burgt.

Novoline hat eine ziemliche exklusive Marktstrategie und schutzt damit seine Offline-Spielstatten, auch bekannt unter dem Sammelbegriff Spielhallen. Fragt man einen Novoline Fan, welches Spiel die gro?te Wirkung erzielt, wird ihm wahrscheinlich der Slot Book of Ra in den Sinn kommen.

Alleine der Hersteller Novoline sorgt heute bereits fur einen idealen Einblick und verhilft daher allemal zu den hohen Bargeldgewinnen. Aufgrund dessen ist es umso wichtiger, sich mit den verschiedenen Vorteilen zu befassen und einfach nachzulesen, was einem dahingehend ebenfalls geboten wird.

Timetable set for ‘fairer’ bills

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009


The changes come after an Ofgem investigatio

A timetable has been set by the energy regulator for new rules to come into force that ensure the fairer treatment of consumers.

All energy customers will be sent their first annual statement by their supplier by December 2010, Ofgem said.

Changes that allow pre-payment meter customers to switch suppliers even if they have a debt on bills of up to £200 will be in place by January.

The changes come after an investigation by the regulator into household bills.

Bills clarity

Ofgem started the investigation into the state of the energy market in the UK in February 2008.

The [new standards] call on suppliers to be clear, fair and courteous and to take the confusion out of comparing products

Andrew Wright, Ofgem

In its initial findings a year ago, Ofgem said that there was no evidence of collusion between the “big six” suppliers in setting prices and the market was “working well” for most consumers.

But it raised concerns over the difference in prices for those paying in different ways.

At the start of September, the first of the new rules – which ensured different payment methods reflected the cost to the supplier of offering those methods – was brought into force.

The new annual statement, which customers will start to receive from July, will provide customers with details such as their energy tariff, consumption and a reminder of the customer’s right to switch.

Other new rules include the provision of written quotes for doorstep sales, which must be supplied from 18 January 2010.

The same date has been set for the requirement that small businesses be given clear contracts, and more notice of when a new contract can be negotiated.

“The new standards define the spirit of the new rules to go with the letter of the laws,” said Ofgem’s Andrew Wright.

“They call on suppliers to be clear, fair and courteous and to take the confusion out of comparing products.”

From BBC Web site

The government is unveiling plans for every home in Britain to be equipped with smart meters by the end of 2020.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

The government is unveiling plans for every home in Britain to be equipped with smart meters by the end of 2020.

The move has been met by a chorus of approval from the energy industry and by a consumer watchdog.

But how will this affect householders, and will it cost or save them money?

What is expected to happen?

The government wants every home in Britain to be installed with smart meters – a device that shows exactly how much gas and electricity is being used.

This should bring an end to estimated bills, because the technology could send back an accurate meter reading to your energy company every day.

According to the Energy Retail Association, which represents the energy companies, the technological advance would be the equivalent of using wireless broadband instead of sending a telegram.

No more estimates. Will that mean they get my bill correct?

There have been thousands of complaints from householders who claim they have been overcharged on direct debit bills.

Consumer groups said this meant energy suppliers were getting free loans from customers. In March, regulator Ofgem told the companies to make charges clearer but said there was no “systematic” abuse of the direct debit system.

Smart meters should put this debate to bed, and would mean that householders no longer need to let the gasman in to read the meter.

People might even by able to check their usage on the internet, or share tips for cutting bills on social networking websites.

But installing these meters will be a big job. Some 26 million electricity and 22 million gas meters will need to be fitted.

That sounds expensive. Who pays?

You will not receive a bill from your energy company for installing a new meter, but you will pick up some of the cost.

Industry estimates suggest that the total installation bill will be £7bn.

That amounts to about £15 per household per year between 2010 and 2020, but £10 of this will be covered from savings made by companies who no longer need to pay people to read meters, and the cost of dealing with complaints should fall.

That leaves £5 a year that would be put onto bills, but the industry thinks that – by keeping an eye on the meter – householders will cut their energy use and so reduce their annual bill by between £25 and £35.

These savings might come by changing habits such as switching off the television, rather than leaving it on standby.

Consumer groups are keen to see all the savings made by energy companies are passed on to the consumer, rather than just boosting their profits.

How do I get one of these meters?

There are trials of smart meters going on at the moment, so some householders have already got them.

There will be three months of consultation and, if the scheme is given the final go-ahead, it will be a huge job to replace the UK’s meters.

“Government should show leadership and make sure that this roll-out is joined up and the opportunity is not wasted,” said a spokesman for Consumer Focus, the consumer watchdog.

Under the plans, each home would get a new smart gas meter and a new electricity meter. One is the “host” meter, that will communicate with you and the supplier.

Will this make it more difficult to switch supplier to save on bills?

Your new smart meter might have your current supplier’s branding on it, but don’t be fooled.

They might look different, but all the meters should have the same specifications so if you want to switch suppliers you will not need to get a new meter installed.

Switching suppliers to get a better deal should be as easy as it is now.

You will not get a different meter if you pay in different ways – such as pre-payment or quarterly by cheque.

What about bills at business properties?

Large businesses should have smart meters within five years, according to the government.

Small businesses should get smart meters in the same timeframe as consumers.

From BBC Website

The cost of installing and owning solar panels will fall even faster than expected according to new research

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

The cost of installing and owning solar panels will fall even faster than expected according to new research.

Tests show that 90% of existing solar panels last for 30 years, instead of the predicted 20 years.

According to the independent EU Energy Institute, this brings down the lifetime cost.

The institute says the panels are such a good long-term investment that banks should offer mortgages on them like they do on homes.

At a conference, the institute forecast that solar panels would be cost-competitive with energy from the grid for half the homes in Europe by 2020 – without a subsidy.

Basically everything (in the industry) is bound to grow still further. Growing further means less cost

Heinz Ossenbrink, EU Energy Institute

Incentive programmes for solar panels in Germany, Italy and Spain have created manufacturing volume that’s bringing down costs. Solar panel prices dropped 30% last year alone due to an increase in output and a drop in orders because of the recession.

But Heinz Ossenbrink, who works at the institute, said China had underpinned its solar industry with a big solar domestic programme which would keep prices falling. There are large-scale solar plans in the US and India too.

Panels had been expected to last for 20 years and price calculations were based on this (with a free energy source, purchase and installation represent almost the entire price of solar power).

But Dr Ossenbrink says the institute’s laboratory has been subjecting the cells to the sort of accelerated ageing through extremes of heat, cold and humidity that has long been a benchmark for the car industry.

Long lifetime

It has shown that more than 90% of the panels on the market 10 years ago are capable of still performing well after 30 years of life, albeit with a slight drop in performance.

Dr Ossenbrink says 40-year panels will be on the market soon.

A key goal for solar is what is known as grid parity. That is the point when it is as cheap for someone to generate power on their homes as it is to buy it from the grid.

It varies from country to country depending on electricity prices, but the institute estimates that Italy – which has a combination of sunny weather and relatively high electricity prices – should reach grid parity next year. Half of Europe should be enjoying grid parity by 2020, it estimates.

Cloudy northern countries like the UK could wait further, possibly up to 2030. But the day would come when solar panels on homes would be cost-competitive without a subsidy, even in Britain.

Dr Ossenbrink says: “Basically everything (in the industry) is bound to grow still further. Growing further means less cost. Less cost means grid parity.”

“We have been surprised in the past five years at the drop in prices. It’s due to good incentive programmes first in Germany then Spain and Italy. That created a kind of a boom that was helping industry to reduce costs and get into profitability. And when an industry is in profit it drives on its own.”

Owning solar

Professor Wim Sinke, from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who leads the solar umbrella group the European Photovoltaic Technology Platform, says the industry has even greater ambitions.

“The target of the sector as a whole is to reach grid parity in almost all of Europe over the next 10 years. So by 2020 we should have grid parity in most of Europe,” he told BBC News.

Key sticking points for domestic solar, he said, would be the lack of flexibility in electricity grids to take in surplus generated energy and difficulties with finance.

Dr Ossenbrink said: “What I would like to see is the finance sector saying solar power is a product like financing a house – except they can predict the value of the solar panel much more safely than they can predict the value of the house in a volatile market.

“Electricity will never be given away free. Banks should offer mortgages on people’s solar panels like they do on homes – the bank should own the panel, then it would transfer to the householder when the loan has been paid off. It would be perfect for life assurances.”

It will take much longer for solar to match fossil fuel power at the point of generation, the institute says, as wholesale electricity prices are much lower than retail prices.

From BBC web site

£12m for display meters for more sustainable schools

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Partnerships for Schools 26 November 2009

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, today announced a £12m investment in new energy display meters providing schools with real-time digital information about their electricity use from January next year.

From January 2010, primary and secondary schools across England will be able to apply for a meter which will give a second-by-second reading on how much electricity a building is using. Pupils and staff will be able to see immediately the impact of switching on and off individual pieces of electrical equipment, computers and lights on easy to read display monitors.

Partnerships for Schools will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of the new display meters project, working in partnership with British Gas, as the selected private sector partner.

Tim Byles, Chief Executive of Partnerships for Schools, said: “Pupils across England are some of the keenest sustainability champions around. In Building Schools for the Future schools where display meters are already in operation we have seen young people and teachers enthusiastically using this data to show how simple changes in behaviour can make a real difference.

“Research by the Carbon Trust shows that display meters and wider behavioural changes in using energy could see 10 to 15 per cent cuts in fuel bills – meaning the average one-form primary school could save up to £700 a year and the average 900-pupil secondary school more than £3,000 a year on fuel bills alone.

“But the use of this technology is also a great way to harness young people’s interest in the environment and embed behaviours which they can use beyond the school gates, and we look forward to seeing the difference that this important investment will make.”

Kanat Emiroglu, Managing Director of British Gas Business said:  “Building on our market leading position on smart metering, this major project is an excellent opportunity to combine British Gas’s energy services expertise with, our leading environmental schools’ programme, Generation Green. These display meter displays will provide the opportunity for teachers and pupils to learn about climate change, energy efficiency and carbon budgeting in an exciting and interactive way, whilst also allowing schools to manage and reduce their energy costs.”

The display meters project was announced today as part of the publication of the discussion document Securing Our Future – Using Our Resources Well.

The meters will be provided with software that allows clear, easy-to-read displays to a nominated PC in a prominent place within the school so that pupils, teachers and wider users of the school can monitor electricity use. Schools will be given instructions for how the meter should be used, and guidance on how it can support teaching and learning and raise awareness. School maintenance staff will also be able to use the data to inform decisions about how to make energy savings.

Notes to Editors:

  • PfS is the government’s delivery agent for the full suite of capital investment programmes into schools, helping ensure that taxpayers get the best value from every education pound spent.
  • PfS is responsible for the delivery of around £8bn investment into education until 2011– through Building Schools for the Future; the Academies programme; the Primary Capital Programme; and the Devolved and Targeted Capital Programmes.