Dusty nooks, draughty corridors, creaky desks and clanging pipes? Schools are often very old ? or at least have some aged buildings at their heart, with newer classrooms added over the years as more space is needed.
Independent schools in particular, usually have a heritage that can span several centuries. Even classrooms with the most modern learning tools ? smartboards, computers and chill-out areas ? can have an ancient infrastructure behind the walls.
The problem with school energy
Until very recently, heating and lighting a school has had little attention from staff and stakeholders. It?s just a necessary expense that needs to be budgeted for, much like paying to have the school field mown.
As schools have grown and developed over time, new heating systems have been plugged into old, and modern technologies have been eschewed in favour of uniformity.
Installing extra pipes and laying more cables can solve the immediate need of getting a new sports hall or extra classrooms up and running, but it is rarely an efficient or effective use of energy.
Old, leaky pipes, over-worked boilers, over-reliance on oil as a fuel ? and above all ? an internal ambivalence to saving money and saving energy, lead to costly bills each month.
As energy fees soar and the Government?s eco-targets filter down, schools are beginning to look more closely at how they heat and light buildings.
Turn a cost into an income
Schools that are embracing renewable energy and the latest energy efficiency technologies are ahead of the curve, and benefiting from generous subsidies, grants and energy export tariffs.
They are discovering that earning an income from switching to green energy is not a myth ? and those high energy bills are a thing of the past. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Feed-in Tariff (FiT), and favourable Energy Efficiency Financing deals for schools, means the income generated from their green energy measures more than covers the costs.
Where to start with becoming greener?
Now that renewable energy has being made more accessible, financially attractive, and schools are seen to promote their green credentials, schools are asking the burning question: Where do we start?
It?s quite likely that your school has started to adopt a more eco-friendly culture. You probably have recycling bins and notices reminding staff and pupils to switch off lights when they leave a room.
Although you may not realise it, this is having a bigger impact on your move towards cheaper energy bills than it seems. To make energy savings a priority in your school, everyone needs to buy into the idea ? from students to staff to governors.
With everyone committed ? and we can help you to introduce the green culture into your school ? the way is clear for you to look into structural changes and installations.
Holistic, long-term energy programmes
There is no need for renewable energy installations to be overwhelming. After an initial consultation with a school, we often embark on a 5 to 10 year programme to turn a fuel-burning, costly behemoth of a school into a model of energy efficiency and sustainability.
Although we look at every detail of your school, we might decide to start with a single building ? perhaps installing more powerful but low-energy lighting in a sports hall, with electricity generated by solar power and heated by a low-carbon biomass boiler.
Work takes place with the minimum of disruption, usually during school holidays, and you can start enjoying lower fuel bills, cash back from exporting surplus electricity to the grid, and maybe even income from renting out your improved sports hall to clubs!
Turning classrooms into cost-neutral learning spaces, or swimming pools into sources of income. We even help you plan for expansion to help save money further down the line. Talk to us about how we can help your school ? from advice to a full system re-fit, from quick wins to long-term education.