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Rotherham Council plans government-funded roll-out of retrofit T5 lighting to 50 schools

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council is building on the success of Save It Easy® lighting upgrades at three of its schools. Using Salix funding, it is planning a rolling programme to extend the retrofit low-energy lighting to potentially more than 50 schools in the Rotherham area.

Schools within the Rotherham MBC remit account for approximately 52% of the council’s carbon dioxide emissions. This breaks down to a staggering 21,396 tonnes of CO2 every year. With Rotherham MBC aiming to reach targets of 2% year‐on‐year carbon reduction, driving down school CO2 emissions emerged as a priority.

Lighting energy waste

Lighting was identified as a key source of energy waste within Rotherham’s schools, with outdated fluorescent lighting a major culprit. However, it was not deemed cost-effective for Rotherham MBC to completely replace all of the lighting across each of its schools. Instead, a retrofit solution was in order. Using a plug-in T5 adapter, Save It Easy from lighting firm Energys Group, Rotherham MBC was able to slot new, energy-efficient T5 fluorescent lamps into the existing light fittings.

“We found out about Save It Easy through our colleagues at Sheffield City Council,” comments Steven Cope, Environmental Officer (Energy) at Rotherham MBC. One of the reasons we selected the product was because it had been independently tested by VDE, a leading European testing house, to prove that it meets safety standards.”

Salix funding

Save It Easy has now been installed at three schools in Rotherham: West Melton Primary School, Swinton Fitzwilliam Primary School and Brinsworth Manor Junior and Infant School. The lighting upgrades at these schools were funded using the Salix Energy Efficiency Recycling Fund – a government-backed, matched-funding scheme for public sector organisations to make energy-saving equipment upgrades.

“We’ve been a part of the Salix Energy Efficiency Recycling Fund since 2005,” says Rotherham MBC’s Steven Cope. “It’s been a highly-successful way for us to cut carbon across the council’s properties. However, Salix has strict CO2-reduction criteria that must be met by every project. Fortunately, we knew that Save It Easy was well-proven to meet this criteria.”

Rolling programme

With the Salix pot of funding in place, and the Save It Easy converters already saving energy within the three trial schools, Rotherham MBC has been able to extend the funding for Save It Easy to more than 50 of the borough’s schools.

“We’re planning a rolling programme of lighting upgrades in Rotherham schools, installing Save It Easy at schools in batches of six,” says Rotherham MBC’s Steven Cope. “Where Save It Easy has already been installed within our schools, it has proved to be a reliable, turn-key solution that’s really helping us to reduce energy bills and cut carbon. Energys is also assisting us with point-to-point replacements, with brand new fittings, where it is cost-effective to do so.”

Carbon savings

The Rotherham schools that have been equipped with Save It Easy are already netting lighting energy savings of more than 40%. On average, the schools are saving 16 tonnes of CO2 every year. Once Rotherham MBC’s plans to extend the lighting upgrade to 50 of its schools are complete, this means it should be able to achieve annual savings of more than 800 tonnes of CO2.

What’s more, not content with the savings on offer as a result of the T5 fluorescent lighting, Rotherham MBC is also looking at unlocking further energy savings by using Energys Group’s retrofit LED technologies. Rotherham is certainly setting the pace for the UK’s move towards greener, more energy-efficient schools.

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