The Church of England’s General Synod has set a target for all parts of the church, including its 4700 educational institutions, to become net zero by 2030 – 15 years ahead of its original proposal.

The pressure is ON to take action and ramp up efforts to reduce emissions year on year.

We’re actively helping the UK’s education sector make their buildings more energy efficient. Whilst taking action of climate change may seem a complicated affair, it needn’t be.

If you’re an estates director or manager, facilities manager, governor or bursar and you want to understand HOW to meet the Church of England’s ambitious target, then keep reading. We’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions to help you on the road to net zero.  

What is a zero-carbon school?

A zero-carbon school is one that through its buildings and activities does not contribute to climate change through carbon emissions. The Church of England is using key impact areas including energy use, travel, waste, water, procurement, food and school grounds within its target for reaching net zero by 2030. 

How do I find out my school’s carbon footprint?

Becoming net zero by 2030 is a huge challenge. Understanding the carbon footprint of a building (or buildings) provides a baseline from which action can be taken to reduce carbon emissions.

The Church of England’s own Energy Footprint Tool (EFT) encourages schools to record their carbon footprint, based on the energy, heating and lighting use of their buildings. Using the tool will help schools keep track of the impact of the different steps being taken to reduce the buildings carbon footprint.

How can my school reduce the carbon impact of its buildings?

Improving the fabric of school buildings is a powerful tool in reducing their overall carbon impact. To reduce carbon emissions, schools are being encouraged to seek out low-cost solutions ranging from draught proofing, glazing or upgrading LED lighting.

There are a range of options available which will reduce the carbon impact of both new and existing buildings. For example, schools and their responsible bodies are being encouraged to think about replacing outdated and inefficient building systems with more energy efficient solutions. For example, installing intelligent boiler controls can improve the efficiency of heating systems, without affecting the temperature of the building. It is a simple retrofit upgrade that unlocks instant carbon savings. 

What happens if we wait few months?

The cost of energy is rising very significantly right now. The UK’s energy crisis isn’t just affecting the supply of fuel at petrol stations, it’s causing big issues on the wholesale market. Some commentators think this could mean a 30% increase in energy bills. Unless your school is on a very long term fixed energy tariff – this is likely to affect you very soon indeed. We’re urging school business managers to take action on energy efficiency now – as demand reduction is going to be vital for your budgets moving forward.

How can my school improve its energy management?

Lowering energy use and ensuring buildings are energy efficient are the main routes to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.

For schools looking to improve their energy management, our EnergysMeter may be the perfect tool. It’s a live monitoring tool for measuring and verifying energy consumption. It provides a detailed overview of exactly how – and where – energy is being used to help users take control of energy costs. With EnergysMeter schools can interrogate electricity consumption by a whole host of variables – from headcount to area and by time of day. By analysing powerful ‘before and after’ comparisons, schools can make data-led decisions on systems adjustments. 

Are there any other benefits of carrying out energy efficient projects in schools?

Yes. Take LED lighting upgrades as an example. Not only will it significantly reduce emissions, it will also vastly improve the quality of light in the classrooms. This leads to step-changes in wellbeing for teachers and pupils. Modern, efficient, quality LED lighting has been proven to increase productivity, participation, concentration and learning when compared to fluorescent or incandescent light bulbs.

Lighting upgrades can also bring emergency lighting up to standard and reduce operational and maintenance costs.

Is there anything my CoE school can do to manage indoor ventilation in an energy efficient way?

Air pollution is one of the UK’s biggest public health challenges damaging quality of life and leading to a shortening of life for many people. Several studies have also linked poor air quality to lower educational outcomes.

Within our technology portfolio, we offer a technology that not only filters viruses, bacteria, particulate matter (down to PM2.5), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), smoke and pollen, it destroys them in the process leading to a continual clean air flow without the toxic by-products of other air cleaning technologies. In fact, it is proven to kill 99.95% of all airborne bacteria and viruses, including Human Coronavirus,

As the colder winter months take hold, we are urging schools to adopt our GojiAir technology; it is proven to keep classrooms safer WITHOUT the need for windows to be open at all times. This ensures classrooms are kept at a comfortable ambient temperature – and energy bills under control.

Is there any funding for energy efficiency upgrades in CoE schools?

In today’s financial climate, research shows that a lack of investment capital is often the greatest barrier to achieving carbon reduction objectives. You may be able to take advantage of funding mechanisms such as the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (now in Phase 3).

At Energys Group we believe in removing these barriers and have a range of funding solutions for schools – we’re here to help find the right one for each individual project. For example, we offer a Fully Compliant Operating Lease tailored to the needs of schools and colleges. Using our fully compliant flexible operating lease can help your CoE educational establishments to install our technologies and GojiAir system without the need for capital investment.

Where can I find out more?

Energys Group has years of experience working with carbon conscious schools seeking to reduce their impact on the environment. To see how we can help you, take a look at some of our case studies. Whatever your school or college needs, we provide support at every stage of your carbon reduction journey. Want to know more? Contact us today.

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