Essex County Council have a team of School Energy Surveyors who are visiting all maintained schools completing energy audits. They aim to help schools identify opportunities for carbon reduction and improved energy efficiency throughout their school.
Often a fresh perspective can help site managers, cleaners, kitchen staff, teachers and business managers understand opportunities to reduce their energy usage. The team will also share best practice between schools – enabling everyone to benefit from each other's expertise – helping all schools on their path to becoming a zero-carbon site.
The team can help schools obtain, analyse and understand their energy data; allowing them to see the potential energy and cost savings associated with suggested initiatives.
The team will also document all heating and hot water equipment, assessing suitability for grant funded upgrades – putting opportunities “on the shelf" for future funding applications – such as the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
Contact email@example.com to book a school energy survey with the team.
Devolved Formula Capital – Additional Funding/Energy Efficiency
Essex County Council have now received the allocation for schools for the Devolved Formula Capital – Additional Funding in relation to Energy Efficiency. A communication has been issued detailing how the funds are to be distributed and guidance. To find out how much your school will be receiving please visit the Government's website by clicking here. Aided schools will receive funding through the Diocese and academies will receive funding directly.
The following guidance has been given in relation to this funding: You must spend this funding on capital projects, prioritising projects that improve your school estate's energy efficiency. For example, installing better heating controls, insulation to reduce heat loss from pipes or switching to energy efficient lighting like LEDs. The DfE expects you to spend the funding in the financial year 2022 to 2023. However, normal terms of devolved formula capital apply (i.e. it must be spent in the year of allocation or the two following years). The DfE have published an energy efficiency guide for schools which provides more information on how to reduce energy consumption, cost and emissions.
During the energy audit, our surveyors will be able to assess the most beneficial projects for the new DfE's energy efficiency allocation.
Here are a few examples of the discoveries which can come from an energy survey. The following adjustments are easy and usually free but could be contributing to a large % of the final bills. According to Energy Sparks, an energy education charity, approximately 45% of school's electricity use is consumed out of school hours, when most school buildings are largely unoccupied. Optimising your buildings energy use at weekends and over holiday periods is key in managing your energy costs:
Time clocks and kitchen equipment – Staff responsibility
Are radiators free of obstruction?
Are time clocks for point of use hot water heaters set up for weekend and holiday shutdown?
Does your site manager align the heating and hot water times to school opening hours?
Equipment – Staff and students' responsibility
Lighting – Staff and students' responsibility
Energy monitors – Student engagement
There are many organisations which can help to plan and measure the success of these quick wins while involving students:
This is a platform which provides schools with fully equipped modules on energy, nature, biodiversity and waste to integrate into the curriculum. This is a great compliment to Energy Challenge and Energy Sparks, allowing students to understand the positive impact of their engagement. Upon sign up, selecting 'ECC' as a sponsor will grant access to the resources at no cost to the school.
An online, school specific, energy analysis tool. It collects and analyses smart meter data showing how your school uses energy during the week, on weekends and throughout holidays. It then produces tailored energy savings advice which can be used to engage students. On average schools save 10% on their bills and reduce their output of by 8 tonnes of CO2 within the first year of engagement.
Salix Finance Limited provides government allocated funding for public sector energy efficiency and carbon reduction. They are the main funding stream facilitating targets to become net-zero by 2050.
As and when the funding is released, ECC aims to submit joint applications for its core and school estate. Currently, there are two schemes which Essex buildings are eligible for, the Low Carbon Skills Fund (LCSF) and Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS). Please see brief descriptions of the programmes below.
This grant provides schools with the funding to create a heat decarbonisation plan. This can cover the costs of low carbon feasibility, heat loss calculations, building surveys and energy analysis. It allows schools to take the first steps towards a low-carbon future; creating a timeline and detailed plan on how to achieve full heat decarbonisation. Completing a LCSF project puts buildings in good stead for subsequent PSDS applications.
This provides funding to schools with heating systems that are at the end of their working lives with imminent need for replacement. PSDS is aimed at taking a 'whole building' approach to heat decarbonisation, combining heat decarbonisation with energy efficiency measures. Our current PSDS projects typically include the replacement of gas/oil boilers with an air/ground source heat pump, a solar PV array to offset the electric needed to power such a pump, insulation and/or LED lighting. To apply for the funds ECC need to commit the like-for-like costs of installing a typical gas plant replacement.
Participating in a school energy survey will be the best way to ensure we have your school's data to hand if you become eligible for such schemes in the future.
Local authority-maintained schools, higher education institutions, academies, multi academy trusts and sixth form colleges can find out more about Salix funding and eligibility criteria on the Salix Finance website.