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Efficiency in education

As the summer stretches ahead of us, we’ve spotted a welcome emphasis on how schools should be upping the ante on energy efficiency.

Education Executive is reporting that throughout the education sector, there’s an increasing awareness of the benefits of implementing a well-rounded energy efficiency plan.

Crucially, the journal notes that holistic planning is key to sustainable energy in schools.

It writes: ‘For example, many schools begin addressing their energy usage by installing LED lighting; however, a school taking a holistic approach may also consider whether they could install lighting sensors, energy management systems, new insulation, boilers and solar PV within the same project.

‘An added benefit to this approach, on top of the associated high energy savings, is that installing a number of projects at once helps save money on design, installation and labour costs, while also minimising disruption on site.’

This approach matches our experience at Energys, and is especially worthwhile when one considers that soon, the long summer holidays will be with us.

This is an ideal time when schools might consider energy efficiency solutions, with plenty of downtime to get the measures installed and signed off before pupils return to their studies.

A word on the smarter futures schools can imagine is welcome too; ‘Energy waste can also be reduced by updating energy control systems,’ writes the journal.

‘New smart technologies allow for more precise control, especially if combined with an energy management system. This gives schools the ability to quickly, easily and, often, automatically adjust their energy systems to meet their needs in real time.’

Homes efficiency under scrutiny

Less welcome is news that the domestic side of energy efficiency is taking a bash. The Telegraph reports the Government’s effort to bring down the cost of energy by upgrading Britain’s draughtiest homes is under attack, after it emerged that cuts to the scheme mean it would take 400 years to complete.

It seems that, under new plans, ministers intend to slash the pace at which the least efficient households will receive insulation upgrades. Better heat conservation can knock hundreds of pounds a year off electricity and gas bills.

A spokesman for E.On UK, a big six energy supplier, said: “Overall, as a country we need to bring the energy efficiency of homes up to the level that is right for the 21st century, and which could save many hundreds of pounds off the annual energy bill.”

At Energys, we deal with commercial energy efficiency, but that doesn’t mean we take our eyes off the domestic sector. Price caps seem to have taken centre stage here, perhaps at a cost to efficiency.

A refocusing of policy to get Britain’s homes using less heat and electricity would be most welcome.

Can the UK reach net zero emissions by 2050?

The Guardian examines how fit the UK is to truly lead the world on low carbon.

It writes; “More wind farms, solar power and electric cars: these are likely to be the future of the UK, under government plans announced this week to seek a zero-carbon economy in the next 30 years.”

It appears that last month, Government Minister Claire Perry made the surprise announcement that she would ask the Committee on Climate Change, the government’s statutory advisers on climate change, to consider ways the UK could become “net zero-carbon” by 2050.

The commitment was widely interpreted, says The Guardian, as laying the groundwork for a major change to the UK’s long-term climate policy. Currently, ministers are pledged to cutting emissions by 80% by 2050.
And efficiency could play a major role. Dustin Benton, Policy Director at Green Alliance, told the paper; “The government would have to bring forward new measures as a matter of urgency.

“The government has made real progress on some issues, such as diesel cars and offshore wind, but there are glaring holes in areas such as energy efficiency and onshore renewables.”

We will keep an eye on this story, and alert you to any changes. Any re-examination of UK climate policy must deliver energy efficiency as a key player.


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Energys Group urges NHS to take action now and not wait for increased government funds

Kevin Cox explains why the NHS and other public bodies must make energy efficiency savings to release more funds for over-stretched ‘front-line’ services.

While uncertainty about Brexit dominates the political landscape, causing equal amounts of anxiety and expectation in the public at large, other aspects of public life continue to loom large. In particular is the perennial strain on the NHS budget and stress on its staff and patients.

In its recent survey findings of respondents in England, released in September 2017, The Kings Fund found that despite the “significant challenges faced by the NHS, it continues to enjoy unwavering support among the public which endures across the generations.”

Indeed 77% of the public believes the NHS should be maintained in its current form; around 90% of people support the founding principles of the NHS and 66% are willing to pay more of their own taxes to fund the NHS, underlining growing support among the public for tax rises to increase NHS funding.

“We’re not here to comment on the political aspects of the findings of The King’s Fund and IPSOS Mori survey or to call for increased taxation to support the NHS,” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director of Energys Group. “However, we are calling on the NHS facilities managers, energy managers and Trust chiefs to take the lead in making their estates more energy efficient, and return the savings to where there is the most need – patient care.

“There is no argument from us that staff at the NHS do crucial work, whether on the front-line caring for, transporting and supporting patients directly, or in the critical, unseen and unheralded back-room services, such as administration, maintenance, HR and finance.”

The recently released third annual Impact Report released by the independent NHS Sustainability Campaign highlights the work that is being done by individual trusts to develop low-carbon measures and make considerable savings. For example the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust expects to save around £1.2m each year thanks to a carbon management plan.

Kevin Cox applauds the work being done by Trusts to develop low-carbon measures: “But there is more to be done to ensure that those who work in this 24-hour, 365 days a year service, are not paying the price for their care, in poor working conditions, inefficient buildings and at increased risk to their own health and wellbeing. The NHS needs to look after itself in order that it can look after the public.”

Energys Group will be launching a year-long campaign to help the NHS achieve estate-wide cost savings that will have a significant effect on productivity, staff wellbeing and ultimately, enable savings that will benefit patient care.



Energy Group specialises in energy saving solutions for hospitals and healthcare.  Please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about how we can reduce energy costs for you.

Energy saving technologies for colleges: Why efficient heat and light make for sustainable education too

Right now, the Conservatives are launching reviews into the costs and expenses of the UK university system.

This makes it a very apt moment to remind ourselves how the most energy efficient technologies can save vast amounts of cash across our education hierarchies; cash that if correctly leveraged could potentially help lower the burdens of funding education.

Sensing these benefits, but also the overarching sustainability and CSR wins offered by efficient kit, Public Sector Build Journal (PSBJ) has recently examined the positives of Energys work in London’s BSIX Sixth Form College.

What’s the story, and does it shine a light on wider options for enabling efficiency across our teaching estates nationally?

Top line savings

PSBJ begins by highlighting the key numbers; LED lighting and dynamic boiler controls supplied by Energys at the East London College are predicted to deliver some £25,000 of annual energy savings.

This figure of course does not mention CO2 benefits; the boiler optimisation work alone will offer 28.66 tonnes per year of carbon savings, great for the environment but also for the college’s ongoing carbon reduction work.

In anyone’s book that £25,000 represents serious cash; the figure is a telling reminder that within an environment where UK teaching remains fundamentally pressured when it comes to cash, it’s simple to achieve both financial and CO2 wins that can offer up money to support teaching in other ways.

Bob Herring, Premises Manager of BSIX College, spoke regarding the economics and the positives of the work carried out by Energys.

“We realised that with the latest boiler control and LED lighting systems we could achieve a dramatic reduction in our energy costs,” he comments.

“We wanted to achieve a greener, more carbon efficient college. Thanks to the collaboration with Energys that has been possible; and all in a mere three weeks of work that had very minimal impact on the day to day activities of the school.”

More handy cash on hand

In terms of lighting, return on investment for this project is set at four years, while the return period for the total investment will be around two years. Remember, after this, the installation starts making money for the college.

“We’re delighted with the work that has taken place at BSIX.” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

“Clearly, this is a sixth form college and not a university. But here’s an example of an energy efficiency project that’s offering up £25,000 per year to an educational facility and delivering massive CO2 wins as well.

“It seems to me that in the wider debate over tuition fees, we might perhaps want to be thinking about where and why the overall costs of teaching, in all its forms, can be massively assisted by energy efficient tech.

“And surely we ought to be teaching our children this lesson too; that energy efficiency not only helps our planet; it can help fund our children’s growth and learning.”


Energy Group specialises in energy saving technologies for schools and colleges.  Please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about how we can reduce energy costs at your education establishment.

Additional Salix interest-free finance available for FE Colleges

Leading low carbon retrofit company, Energys Group, is urging Further Education colleges in England to take advantage of additional funds for investment in energy-efficiency upgrades, available from Salix Finance. The fast-approaching deadline for applications for the extended funding is the end of February 2018.

Energy-saving projects

A broad range of over 100 energy-saving upgrades is covered by this round of Salix funding, and can support programmes of work that may span multiple years. Since its launch in 2014, the programme has funded energy-efficiency projects in over 50 FE colleges, resulting in estimated annual savings of over £1.6m.

Applying for the fund

Information about how to apply for the new FE College funding is available on the Salix website. We have also produced a step-by-step guide which outlines how to complete a Salix loan application. The guide contains information on the applications process and how to meet the project criteria.

“Retrofit technologies, such as LED lighting, T5 lighting upgrades and boiler optimisation technologies represent energy-saving quick wins for many FE colleges,” advises Kevin Cox, Managing Director of Energys Group.

“Salix funding provides a great opportunity for colleges to invest in these technologies without the usual financial risk.

“Anyone who needs more information in order to understand the process of applying for an interest-free loan through Salix should consider turning to a specialist organisation such as Energys for advice,” says Kevin Cox.

“There are only a few weeks left until the deadline for this round of funding and colleges will need to have all their energy data on hand to produce a quality application.”

For help and advice on how to take advantage of Salix finance for retrofit energy-saving upgrades, contact Energys Group today.

The IFC says energy efficient buildings could drastically cut global C02, but policy and standards must step up also

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has weighed in on energy efficiency.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. It’s in such countries that climate change is predicted to hit hardest.

This status gives IFC’s words and position massive clout. IFC’s report, entitled Creating Markets for Climate Business, says making buildings more energy efficient could reduce carbon emissions dramatically, but only if countries adopt better building codes and higher standards too.

It’s a riveting piece of news, which should catalyse debate in both emerging and developed markets. What’s behind the IFC claims?

IFC lays it on the line for energy efficiency

The IFC offers compelling headline stats on what the right mix of energy efficiency, codes and standards can offer to mitigate global C02.

In Indonesia, for example, regulations created with IFC support have mandated energy efficiency requirements for large buildings throughout the capital.

This opened the door for the private sector to supply solutions; IFC now estimates the benefits include avoiding over 700,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, plus energy savings of almost $70 million in the last 3 years.

There are more astonishing figures. IFC says investments in green buildings could reach $3.4 trillion by 2025 in key emerging markets. That’s a huge chunk for energy efficiency firms to win.

But this will happen only if developing countries adopt the best building codes and standards and create targeted financial incentives such as green building certification and mandatory benchmarking of energy use.

At Energys, we take this underlying theme from the news…

If such trillions can be leveraged for C02 mitigation and energy efficiency in emerging markets, where financial resources are stretched, just consider what we ought to be achieving at home to help lead C02 reduction.

The opportunities are there, but they will cost

Overall, IFC’s report says energy efficiency in buildings needs an additional $296 billion globally, per year, to meet existing climate targets.

In terms of the standards both developed and emerging states require along with the cash; these must set minimum thresholds for energy performance, requiring certification to dedicated criteria.

In addition, programmes and codes should organise building data into a standardised format, that can be used to develop building benchmarking schemes; crucial for differentiating greener, more energy efficient buildings in the real estate market.

Without these elements, a lack of reliable data and awareness about energy efficiency and green building can hinder efforts to create a viable market.

Philippe Le Houérou, Chief Executive of the IFC, said: “The private sector holds the key to fighting climate change.

“We can help unlock more private sector investment, but this also requires government reforms as well as innovative business models, which together will create new markets and attract the necessary investment. This can fulfil the promises of Paris.”

What does it all mean at home in the UK?

“When we see a report that highlights how codes, standards and investment can build emerging market energy efficiency, we must then apply this thinking to how the UK, an established market, should be leading,” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

“The sums and the benefits the IFC is talking about are vastly significant. Of course, many energy efficiency codes and standards for buildings already exist here in the UK.

“The Government has recently promised to consult on improving the energy efficiency of new and existing commercial buildings, and on raising minimum standards of energy efficiency for rented commercial buildings in its Clean Growth Strategy.

“Could we see the UK taking a stronger position in the field, and providing the leadership IFC proves could be so valuable in helping our own and developing markets mitigate carbon?”


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