Grove Park School benefits from innovative energy saving scheme 

The built environment contributes around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint. If we are to meet our climate change targets, a huge challenge is to decarbonise our existing building stock. Grove Park Primary has become one of the first schools in the borough of Hounslow to implement a programme of works designed significantly to reduce its carbon emissions. They would like to share their experience with other schools.

Reducing carbon emissions and saving money

The school worked with RE:FIT, an initiative backed by the Mayor of London, which helps public buildings to retrofit their existing buildings with energy saving measures, thereby reducing carbon emissions and also achieving substantial savings on their energy bills. The rising impact and cost of carbon emissions means that public sector organisations are under increasing pressure to reduce their emissions. With schools accounting for 70% of its total CO2 emissions, the London Borough of Hounslow was one of the first London boroughs to promote the scheme to its schools, and Grove Park Primary jumped at the chance to be involved.

“The opportunity to cut our carbon emissions and save money at the same time made the RE:FIT scheme an obvious decision for our school.The programme also offers schools an interest-free loan to pay for the improvement works, which we pay back from the savings we make through reduced energy consumption. So it really was a no-brainer on every level!’
Vicky Rodrigues, School Business Manager

As part of the programme, the school installed solar panels, which generate around 28,000 kw of energy per year. Approximately 80% of this energy is then used on site at the school, replacing the use of mains electricity and its associated carbon emissions. Other significant energy-saving measures at the school included replacing all lighting with energy-efficient LED panels, and insulating and optimising boiler and refrigeration units.

“Major works such as the installation of solar panels took place during the school holidays, with minimum disruption for pupils. Since the launch we’ve also noticed other benefits to the scheme: for example, the LED lighting provides a much better quality of light for reading and classroom work, plus reduced maintenance overall. I’d definitely recommend the scheme to other schools”.
Brian Hardman, School Facilities Manager

Using a measurement dashboard provided as part of the scheme, the school can now monitor its energy efficiency in detail, with consumption reviewed daily, even in school holidays. This live energy efficiency information is also displayed on a screen in the school reception area, and in classrooms, to enable pupils and staff to engage with the project, and see for themselves the benefits of sustainable energy sources. With the programme of works now complete, the school is celebrating the success of a scheme which has already saved 6,500kg of C02 – equivalent to planting 22 trees – and saved the school over 50% on its energy bills.

“I’m delighted with the work we’ve done to tackle our school’s carbon emissions. Staff and governors worked really hard to make this scheme such a success. Our pupils have been inspired by seeing their school setting such a good example; the project has engaged them in discussions about environmental issues and supported one of our school’s core aims: to develop children who make a positive impact on our society and the world around them. The project has increased both staff and pupil awareness of environmental issues and fostered a collective sense of wanting to make the school greener, so much so that additional plans are afoot to make the school even more eco-friendly in the future.’’
Darren Jones, Headteacher.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Grove Park & Belmont among top primary schools in the UK

See also: Primary school pupil presents ideas for making a difference to climate change