Energy benchmarking for schools

As part of our "Use Cleaner, Use Less" launch, WME helps identify ways in which schools can benchmark their energy consumption

Energy consumption in schools varies due to the factors such as age of the buildings, their state of repair, occupancy hours and the amount and type of electrical equipment installed.

However, it is still possible to broadly compare the energy efficiency of schools through benchmarking where data on energy usage from similar types of schools is compared to give an indication of what is achievable and the result is called a benchmark.

Schools then compare their usage and costs against the benchmark.

Once you’ve investigated your school’s energy usage and costs, you will be able to see how you’re performing compared with other schools.

Suggestions of how you may wish to benchmark your energy consumption are set out below:

  • Energy usage per pupil. Divide energy usage in kilowatt hours (kWh) by the number of pupils on roll.

  • Energy cost per m2 of floor space. To calculate the cost per square metre divide annual energy spend by floor area (m2 ) of the school.

  • Total Energy usage per m² of floor space. To calculate the energy usage per m² divide the total kWh from electricity and heating by the number of m² of floor space.

In the UK 110kWh/m2/year is considered good practice for a primary school without a pool. Typical usage is 119kWh/m2/year. Secondary Schools in the UK without a pool the typical usage is 196kWh/m2/year. (From Energy Consumption in non-domestic buildings – a Review of Schools May 2011

  • Comparing the rating on the Display Energy Certificate (DEC)

  • Cost per pupil. This is a challenging way of benchmarking as prices of energy can change significantly each year, meaning any “best practice figures” go out of date quickly. In addition, fluctuating pupil numbers make this challenging.

To calculate cost per pupil, total all the energy costs for a financial year and divide by the number of pupils on roll.


To aid benchmarking exercises, annual energy consumption and annual energy spend can easily be obtained via MYWME.

A specific benchmarking tool will shortly be available via MYWME.

Published: 04-04-2022