Energy to the power of 4

The concept of the project ‘Energy to the power of 4’ is to reduce the CO2 emissions of public institutions by saving resources such as heat, electricity, water and waste in Hamburg schools. The measures are carried out by the respective school itself and can be adapted individually. The project includes finacial rewards based on changing practices in the the school. The reward scheme consists of three components: consumption, activity, and organisation.


Energy to the power of 4 website

Useful links

Project concept




Source photos: Christian Spielmann


'Work with the pupils to develop a plan to save on energy use. It's a great way to save costs at school, and develop new behaviours at home too!'

How is the project linked to climate change and sustainability?

By saving valuable resources (heat, electricity, water and waste), C02 emissions are reduced, which in return has a positive impact on climate change and on our planet. The website of the project provides suggestions and tips for the implementation of measures and a wide range of training courses on the subject of climate protection in schools for teachers. The Hamburg Climate Protection Foundation offers advice on environmental educational activities for schoolchildren.

Who is involved?

Hamburg schools are involved and therefore includes students, teachers, caretakers, property managers and technical / cleaning staff.

How are the participants involved?

The project uses a 'bonus' funding model to create incentives for schools to practice climate protection in everyday school life. For this purpose, up to € 5 per student will be distributed via the so-called consumption component if the school was able to reduce its resource consumption compared to the previous year. Through the activity component, schools are rewarded for environmental educational activities, e.g. in the form of teaching units or project days, with a bonus of € 4 per student. The third component is the organisational component, which enables a donation of up to € 2 per student. This bonus is paid for organising climate protection measures within the school. These include, for example, the use of thermostatic valves, 'water-saving stickers', the installation of switchable power strips, adjustment of the room brightness, but also pro-climate cooperation between people who deal with each other in everyday school life. In this way, the respective school can actively participate in climate protection and is rewarded for it.

Key steps:

Create an audit of the school and take note of the amount of gas, water, and electricity you use, and waste that you produce. Make changes and monitor you progress in reducing your consumption against this baseline. Here are a few issues to consider:

Air conditioning and heating
The lion's share of energy consumption goes to schools for space heating. A lot can be done here. Every °C that is saved in room heating minimizes energy consumption by around six percent.

Hot water is the second largest energy guzzler, right after space heating. Heating one cubic metre of water costs around 10 kg of CO2. For comparison: To provide one cubic metre of (cold) water, a waterworks emits only about 0.36 kg of CO2. This means that even the extended shower session after sports lessons or running hot water unused forces our climate to its knees.

As long as our electricity does not come from 100% renewable energies, it will cost the climate dearly. Electricity from fossil fuels such as coal and gas generates vast amounts of the greenhouse gas CO2. So it makes sense to turn on lights only where you need them or shut down computers if no one is working on them

Waste damages the environment, rubbish is ugly, eliminating waste is an energy-intensive business. This means that we already have plenty of reasons to generate as little waste as possible – and to recycle as much waste as possible.