Energy efficiency upgrades in schools will help meet borough’s carbon reduction target

Energy efficiency upgrades for schools

Five schools in the borough will benefit from energy efficiency upgrades to lower their carbon emissions and help meet the borough’s carbon reduction target.

The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead has been successful in securing £1.5m in funding from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for the work at Boyne Hill Infant School and Courthouse Junior School in Maidenhead, as well as Oakfield First School in Windsor and Alexander First School and Braywood First School in Oakley Green, Windsor.

All of these schools use oil-fired boilers which are both carbon intensive and more expensive to run. 

Work is underway at both Boyne Hill and Braywood schools, and the upgrades are due to be completed at all schools by March. The work includes:

•    Installation of air or ground source heat pumps
•    Solar panels
•    Double glazing
•    Insulation
•    Improvements to heating and hot water distribution pipework.

The project supports the council’s Environment and Climate Strategy, which sets out an ambitious carbon reduction target for operational emissions. Between 2018/19 and 2025/26, the council has committed to reducing its emissions by 50%, as part of a longer-term plan to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 at the latest. This will be achieved through a mix of operational changes, buildings improvements and grid decarbonisation.

Councillor Donna Stimson, Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, said: “Taking action on climate change is a priority for the council and the work we are undertaking and have planned for the future will significantly reduce the council’s carbon emissions and demonstrates important leadership on climate change in the borough. Our Environment and Climate Strategy makes clear that we cannot act in isolation but require the whole borough to play their part and work together collectively to address climate change.

“Schools are responsible for more than 40% of our carbon emissions as a council and, therefore, it’s imperative that we invest and work with school leaders to reduce their environmental impact. 

“This project will go towards reducing those emissions and make an important contribution towards our Environment and Climate Strategy. Not only will the work help lower the schools’ carbon footprint and with their day-to-day energy costs, the installation of solar panels at the majority will help them generate their own renewable energy supporting them on their journey towards a more sustainable future. The upgrades will also mean more comfortable learning environments for pupils with improved insulation and better heating systems making them better places to work and study.”

The council has already seen a reduction in its carbon emissions of almost 15% from 2018/19 to 2020/21. This was achieved through various projects, including replacement of lighting systems with LEDs in 12 schools, Maidenhead Library and the Tinkers Lane depot and the installation of new double-glazed windows at the Tinkers Lane site.

Heat decarbonisation surveys have now been conducted across 30 buildings to identify how best to reduce emissions, and the council has also converted most of its streetlights to LEDs, with the remaining work to be undertaken this year.

These latest projects and the work in schools, combined with the carbon savings from decarbonisation of the grid, mean that the vast majority of carbon emissions the council needs to save to meet its 50% target have been identified, with work being undertaken to look at how further savings can be achieved.