Energy efficient environments

As part of the government’s climate targets, the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme has been launched to cut harmful emissions from public sector buildings, including schools

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme provides grants for public sector bodies to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures.
Delivered by Salix Finance, it has been launched to make public sector buildings, including schools, greener as part of measures to bring all UK greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
The funding can be used for heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures across the public sector, central government departments and non-departmental public bodies.
The confirmed projects for phase 1 of the scheme have been announced, with 324 public sector organisations, including schools, awarded funding for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation, valued at £977 million so far.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority will receive funding for 36 schools to get extensive green upgrades, including new air source heat pumps, solar panels and new lighting systems.
Leicester City Council will upgrade 56 schools with energy efficiency measures, including replacing natural gas heating with air source heat pumps, installing LED lighting, installing solar panels, and improving the insulation of the buildings
Seventy four schools under Hertfordshire County Council will become greener through the installation of heat pumps, battery storage and solar panels, as well as double glazing and cavity wall insulation.
Applications for phase 2 of the scheme have now closed, with confirmed projects due to be announced shortly.

Decarbonising schools in Leeds

Leeds City Council has secured £25.3 million to decarbonise 38 publicly owned buildings, including schools, civic buildings, leisure centres, children’s centres, homes for older people, and offices
This is expected to slash the city’s carbon emissions by nearly 4,000 tonnes.
The buildings will all benefit from a range of low carbon heat and energy upgrades carried out by the council and partners.
Air source heat pumps, new connections to the district heating network, solar photovoltaic panels, LED lighting, and double glazing will all be installed by the end of the year.
The council has a bold ambition to reduce Leeds’ direct emissions to net-zero by 2030 and halve the authority’s own carbon footprint by the middle of this decade. By reducing the council’s energy usage the measures will save 3,951 tonnes of carbon and save money for vital frontline services.
After identifying a number of ‘shovel ready’ green projects in 2020, Leeds successfully bid for the funding as part of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
3560 kWp of solar photovoltaic panels will be installed across thirty five leisure centres, primary schools, and other council-owned buildings.
The funding will means that innovative heating technologies such as heat pumps – which extract low carbon warmth from the air or ground – will be installed at thirty two primary schools and council buildings. The pumps will minimise the use of gas boilers which, in addition to saving energy and carbon emissions, will also help to improve local air quality.
Additionally, thousands of LED light bulbs will be installed across fifteen buildings. Switching to low energy lighting is one of the easiest and cheapest upgrades to save money and energy.
Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council said: “We’re delighted to have been allocated more than £25 million from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
“Upgrading dozens of schools and council buildings to be fit for the future mean that we’ll be able to spend less on fossil fuel energy, and more on protecting vital frontline services.
“This investment will also protect and create hundreds of skilled green jobs in local businesses, jobs that will be increasingly important as we work to build a sustainable economic recovery.”
Councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development said: “This announcement is great news for the environment and good news for Leeds.
“We’re on track to halve our own emissions by 2025 and by the end of the year, some of our most historic buildings will soon become our greenest.
“More than a dozen primary schools will also benefit from this funding – paying less for energy so that they can spend more instead on educating the next generation.”
Steve Wilkinson, Head of Commercial Projects for Cenergist said: “Cenergist are delighted to partner with Leeds City Council to deliver this ambitious programme of decarbonisation projects. Decarbonisation of heat represents one of the biggest challenges for local authorities to overcome to achieve net zero targets, and through our extensive experience we are able to support Leeds City Council delivering a range of heat decarbonisation measures including Air Source Heat Pumps and water efficiency improvements.”

Becoming heat efficient

Leven Valley in the Lake District National Park has become the first Primary School to use interest-free funding from Salix to install a ground source heat pump, transforming its heating infrastructure.
Over the last decade, the school has demonstrated its commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of its estate, creating a sustainable, heat-efficient environment and preparing for the decarbonisation of heat.
As part of the school’s carbon reduction strategy, sustainable and natural building materials were maximised where possible, allowing the building to be transformed into a warm and welcoming learning environment. Despite the old building structure, the school also adopted a series of energy efficient measures in order to continue with the delivery of its carbon strategy. Steps included replacing insulation, adopting solar PV (Photovoltaic) and LED lighting, and installing a ground source heat pump (GSHP.)
Leven Valley has used funding from Salix Finance to upgrade its heating system from an oil-based system to a 30.12kW borehole ground source heat pump (GSHP).
In this case, a GSHP was the most robust, long-term approach for minimising carbon emissions and was an ideal replacement for the school’s oil-based heating system.
This ground source heat pump project is expected to save Leven Valley an estimated £5,110 per year and reduce carbon emissions by 77 per cent.
Ian Nicol, head teacher at Leven Valley Church of England Primary School, said: “We are a very small school… but I hope you can see that we think big and act green.
The buildings have become part of our educational ethos, values and provision and work in sympathy with our location within the Lake District National Park.”
Leven Valley’s holistic approach to energy efficiency allows a smooth transition to achieving a low carbon future and the savings made can be reinvested into further energy efficiency projects or resources for the school such as learning materials.
Sinead Desmond, programme manager at Salix, said: ‘We’re delighted to see Leven Valley implementing so many carbon reduction measures and we’re pleased to have been able to support them with the delivery of multiple energy-saving technologies. The school is another great example of how public sector organisations across the UK are leading the way to a sustainable future.”

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