Energy consumption in Australian primary schools: Influences and metrics

Publication Name

Energy and Buildings


School buildings are at a confluence of global trends and upheavals that have impacts on energy consumption and energy performance. There are significant gaps in our knowledge of the energy performance of Australian school buildings, which presents a challenge to respond and improve the school sector's energy performance. This article presents the development and analysis of a database of energy use in Australian public primary schools, incorporating data collected with various frequencies and methodologies from 3,701 schools, covering 82% of the Australian population. It was found that energy intensity was normally distributed, with a mean of 38.0 kWh/m2/yr; while energy consumption per student was positively skewed with a mean of 542 kWh/student/yr and a median of 392 kWh/student/yr. Energy consumption was found to be most strongly correlated with enrolments, gross floor area, climate zone and remoteness, with a number of other parameters having statistically significant correlations. Significant differences in student density were identified between schools in different climate zones and remoteness areas. 64 % of schools had a solar PV array installed, and schools with PV used on average 16 % less energy than schools without. Energy consumption was notably higher on a per m2 basis for schools with gas.

Open Access Status

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

NSW Department of Education



Link to publisher version (DOI)