Energy savings making ‘real difference’ to school as bills are cut

Hinchingbrooke School

Hinchingbrooke School - Credit: Archant

Schools across Cambridgeshire are collectively saving £600,000 per year after joining an innovative energy programme – and more are being urged to sign up.

Cambridgeshire County Council started a programme of energy efficiency and energy generation projects in schools in 2014 by providing loans from its energy investment fund.

The aim is to help schools plan for the future, upgrade their energy assets and manage their energy bills.

There are more than 40 schools signed up to the programme, which has seen them reduce their energy use by 7,547MWh per year – enough, according to the county council, to power a village.

Hinchingbrooke School, in Huntingdon, is among the schools reaping the rewards of smart energy after joining the programme in 2015. As the largest school project in the portfolio to date, with more than 14 building complexes, ranging from 11th century to 21st century construction, the project was split into two with solar panels fitted in December 2015.

This was followed by LED lighting replacement throughout the site and the installation of building energy management systems along with five new condensing boilers, six condensing water heaters, insulation in all plant rooms and heating control upgrades.

Since installation, the school has seen a 15 per cent reduction in its energy bills.

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Principal Andrew Goulding said: “We’re thrilled to have finally completed the installation at Hinchingbrooke. It hasn’t been without challenges, but it has been well worth it.

“We’ve seen a transformation in our plant rooms, have much greater control of our energy usage and we’re starting to see the benefits. The opportunity to get involved in long-term and guaranteed energy savings has made a real difference to our school.”

Twenty-three schools have already completed their installation and are benefitting from reduced energy costs.

Thanks to a package of measures, which include LED lighting upgrades, solar panels for electricity and heat generation, biomass boilers, combined heat and power systems, improvements to heating systems and controls and various types of insulation, schools have saved an average of 20 per cent on their energy bills.

Councillor Josh Schumann, the county council’s commercial and investment committee, chairman, said: “Schools have made significant savings on their energy bills through joining this programme. It means they get much more control over their energy usage.”