You’ve probably heard about how important it is to be energy efficient. But how is Britain implementing ways to become more eco-friendly, what are schools doing to help, and what can you do?
Energy efficiency, by definition, is aiming to reduce energy usage while providing of products and services. Most people are aware that being energy efficient helps the environment, but not as many know that it helps the local economy, saves money and even increases comfort! There are many ways in which business can become energy efficient, but also individual homes can reap the benefits.
It is true that being more energy efficient drastically helps the environment. Burning oil and natural gases in the home increases pollution in the air, as do power stations generating electricity, petrol and diesel vehicles and planes. The UK government is aiming to phase out diesel and petrol car sales by 2040, and just today, the Environment, Health, Transport and Environmental Audit committees have agreed that a new Clean Air initiative, to be paid for by the motor industry, as well as the 2040 deadline to be brought forward.
At the school in our local area, William Farr School, different strategies have been put in place to ensure the school runs in a more eco-friendly manner, and eventually minimize energy bills. All lights in the school have been converted to LED energy saving lightbulbs, Solar panels have been placed across the roof of the school, 6 miles of piping has been installed 1.2 metres under the grounds, extracting warmth to heat the buildings, and new boilers which burn sustainably sourced wood pellets rather than gas have been implemented.
The reason behind this was not just to increase sustainability at the school, but was, according to the Head Teacher Andrew Stones, a combination of three: these were financial benefits, such as eventual reduction in energy costs, environmental benefits, helping to keep the air around the school clean, and education, allowing the students in the school to learn about environmental sustainability and clean energy.
The school wasn’t alone when making this huge change towards an eco-friendly environment. It was encouraged by not only the Friends of William Farr School, who pushed for this change, but also received support from Ofgem through their Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, who encourage the use of renewable heat in homes and businesses. They provided pre-approved loans that the school could access and subsidised the cost of this project.
As a result of this, William Farr School has won Regional Large Scale Project of the Year at the East Midlands Energy Efficiency Awards, with Andrew Stones winning Regional Energy Champion of the Year.
Andrew Stones’ ambitions don’t stop there – his long term goal is for the projects to become self-fulfilling, and he told us that ultimately, he has ‘always wanted [the school] to be carbon neutral’. Projects that he is considering include storing unused electricity from warmer days in the summer, when less students are in school and less heating is needed, in batteries to be used again in the future, smart windows, which turn off the radiators when open, and electric car charging points in the school car park, which could be used by the villagers of Welton at a cost to them, to raise funds for the schools.
So what’s next for Britain? Having these revolutionary changes in just one rural school in Lincolnshire is not going to impact the whole country, but rolling out similar projects to schools nationwide will have a greater impact on the whole countries’ environment. In addition, schools are the home to the environmentalists of the future; without these changes around them, how are they going to be able lead our next generation towards a more eco-friendly country?