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Carbon Trust launches free guide to help schools cut their carbon footprint

06 May 2008

UK schools are losing out on £20m savings and CO2 emission reductions of 300,000 tonnes due to poor energy efficiency, says The Carbon Trust which has launched a free package of energy saving guides for the education sector activities including swimming pools, food preparation and catering,.

The energy saving guides provide practical advice to help reduce the 4 million tonnes of CO2 emitted each year by schools in the UK – a figure almost equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions of the whole of Sheffield. By implementing no cost and low cost energy saving measures, such as creating an energy policy, schools can not only save money and reduce carbon emissions, but create a more comfortable working environment for staff and students.

The Carbon Trust is urging schools to download the new publications, which include A Whole School Approach energy saving guide, Swimming Pools, and Food Preparation and Catering technology guides, and a new set of awareness posters, at

Richard Rugg, Head of Public Sector, the Carbon Trust, said:
“Schools have a huge potential to not just squeeze out the carbon but to cut costs from their budgets. This new package of Carbon Trust publications and posters will help schools work collaboratively to reduce their carbon footprint and cut energy bills by engaging and enthusing teachers, pupils and staff. It’s imperative that the maximum is done to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change, while educating children about the effect they have on the environment. In turn schools can encourage parents and the local community to also consider their energy use.”

Advice from the Carbon Trust includes:
Work as a team: Appoint an energy team, including teachers, caretakers, pupils and governors so the school works together to ensure that problems are effectively reported and managed – in turn ensuring that the maximum energy saving can be achieved.

Focus on swimming pools: With swimming pool halls consuming more energy per unit than almost any other building type, be extra vigilant when managing pools. An insulated pool cover can save as much as 10 – 30 per cent of the total pool energy.

Focus on catering: In some kitchens, as little as 40 per cent of the energy consumed is used for the preparation and storage of food with the rest being transferred into space as heat. Invest in pan sensors on hobs to ensure that, when a pan is removed, the hob will automatically reduce in heat.

Take a tea break: Remind both staff and pupils how much energy they might be wasting. For example, a photocopier left on standby overnight wastes enough energy to make 30 cups of tea. For more facts like this, download the set of new posters.

Engage with the local authority: Schools looking to make a strategic impact should engage with their local authority who can access or provide further energy efficiency support.

The Carbon Trust’s publication library features a range of fact sheets and industry specific starter packs, which offer a useful starting point for organisations concerned about energy efficiency. The Carbon Trust also provides a free Advice Line on 0800 085 2005, which any organisation can contact for expert advice on how to cut carbon emissions.

Download A Whole School Approach (CTV037), Swimming Pools (CTG009), Food preparation and catering (CTV035) and the energy saving posters (PFL310, PFL306, PFL307, PFL309, PFL308, PFL311, PFL312), at

Carbon Trust Survey Case Study: Helston School and Community College

Helston School and Community College is a mixed 11-19 years school in Cornwall. It employs more than 100 teaching staff and has 1700 pupils over two sites. It has 60 classrooms, two gymnasiums, two assembly halls and two kitchens, which cover an area of 13,500 m2.

With an annual energy bill of £95,233, the equivalent of 529.17 tonnes of carbon dioxide, Helston School and Community College contacted the Carbon Trust for a free survey to identify ways it could reduce its energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.

A year on from the initial survey, the school has proactively implemented the majority of suggestions and, as a result, have come in under budget for the first time. The savings on a full year will be in the region of between 10% and 12%, well on the way to their potential of 19.3% energy savings identified Carbon Trust initiated survey.

By involving staff, students and teachers, the following changes have been made:
An energy policy has been created and student and staff representatives have been appointed as resident ‘Eco-Warriers’. For the students involved, the initiative has enthused them but also seen their academic work improve.

Lighting use has been reduced, mainly following a successful sticker and poster campaign. Furthermore, lighting sensors have been fitted in a recently refurbished building to reduce wastage.

An automatic shutdown system is now in place to ensure that all IT equipment automatically turns off at both 4pm and 6pm each evening.

New kitchen equipment has been installed, including energy efficient steam ovens. Not only has this reduced energy use but also improved the quality of the food.

The school is currently working on a water conservation project which, alone, could save up to £11,100 annually.

The school has successfully replaced seven old and inefficient boilers with modern gas fired high efficiency boilers.

The survey identified that Helston school could save around £34,780 and see a 19.3% reduction in energy consumption a year as a result of implementing these recommendations.

Richard Middleton of Helston Community College said: ‘Working with the Carbon Trust was an eye-opening experience as we did not have an energy policy in place previously. It showed that simple steps can lead to not only a huge monetary saving but a large reduction in our carbon footprint. Crucially we have now created and implemented our first energy policy which means that staff are clear on our objectives and are able to make an individual impact. Students too are now aware of our carbon savings and are enthused to get involved. Together we have been able to make substantial energy savings and will continue to work with the Carbon Trust in exploring ways to reduce our carbon footprint even further in the years ahead’.

To find out more, businesses can call the Carbon Trust Advice Line on 0800 085 2005 or visit the Carbon Trust website:

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