Carbon Trust urges schools to invest in efficiency to beat rising energy prices

Published on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 14:20
Posted by Scott Buckler

The Carbon Trust is writing to all schools and Local Education Authorities in England urging them to take action on energy efficiency to help reduce their £500m a year fuel bill

No cost and low cost energy efficiency measures can save a secondary school up to £21,500 a year,which is equivalent to the salary cost of a newly qualified teacher.

A new service for schools is being launched by the Carbon Trust which is based on its experience of working with over 3,000 schools over the last decade. It provides tools, resources and onsite training on saving energy and carbon. It also includes access to the Carbon Trust's unique online behaviour change software, Empower for Schools™, designed to help teachers actively engage students through practical learning experiences, support for lessons, carbon comparisons and quizzes.

Richard Rugg, Managing Director of Public Sector Advice at the Carbon Trust, said:

"Right now we know that schools are needlessly spending too much money on their energy bills. Taking action on this will not only free up budgets for educational spending, it will also help to combat climate change. This is why we are launching a service to help them. In fact if all the schools in England implemented our advice, we estimate that they could collectively achieve annual savings of £70 million on their energy bills.[3]

"In most cases significant savings can be achieved within weeks or months, with low and no cost measures. In particular making sure that lighting, heating and devices that consume electricity, such as computers, are used efficiently. Further savings can be made through investment in building fabric, upgrading lighting, and putting in new heating systems or renewables. These measures not only help cut overheads so that schools can focus on educational spending, they have the supplementary benefit of creating a more effective learning environment."

The Carbon Trust worked on pilot trials of this service with local authorities and over 250 schools in England last year, supporting them on introducing energy efficiency. This pilot included working with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council in thirteen of its schools, both primary and secondary, to demonstrate the potential for energy and carbon savings. The carbon from Solihull's school estate accounts for over 70% of the emissions from all the council's assets. The council had been spending £2.5 million a year on energy for schools, and projected that this would rise by over £800,000 over the next five years if current trends in fuel prices are sustained.

Following a successful pilot, Solihull is planning on rolling out this service to all of its 74 schools over the next three years, delivering cost savings of almost £1.3 million in that period. Most impressively, 22% of the savings can be achieved with zero cost behaviour change initiatives, and the total cumulative revenue costs to achieve all savings are expected to only be £168,000. If all the carbon reduction opportunities identified by the Carbon Trust were implemented then the potential carbon saving per school would be 24%.

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