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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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