How Can Schools Reduce Their Carbon Footprint?

Could you take on the Carbon Challenge?

It’s no secret that School budgets are getting tighter and Business Managers and Bursars are finding themselves in a juggling act between increasing financial pressure to save the pennies and increasing moral pressure to save the planet. But is it possible to do both?

Well, here at Powerful Allies we are always looking for innovative ways to help our School clients reduce their Carbon Footprint while reducing their costs. This is why we started our Schools Carbon Challenge 2020 to prove it can be done! Here’s what happened….

How did it work?

We set a time frame; we used winter as our measuring period (September 2019 – February 2020) as that’s when Schools are likely to use the most energy due to fewer daylight hours and colder temperatures.

We set a benchmark; we collated the Energy Data from the same period from the previous year for each School taking part so we could use this as a starting point and know what they had to come in under.

Then we were off! Over the six months, we carried our onsite energy audits for the Schools, visited their Eco-Groups to give talks, sent monthly email bulletins, and supported each school through their Energy Reduction endeavors.

After the six months had passed, we then collated all the Schools data again and compared it to the previous year to find the reduction of Gas and Electric Consumption and what that meant in terms of Carbon Emissions.

What were the Results?

Overall, the Schools saved a whopping total of 87 Tonnes of Carbon from being released into the Earths Atmosphere, so I think its safe to say that the Carbon Challenge was a success!  That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 70 cars off the road for a whole year, or planting over 5000 trees!

The Winners are Fairfield High (part of Excalibur Academies Trust) in Bristol, who reduced their Energy consumption by a huge 36%!

Rachel Lacey, Finance and Premises Manager at Fairfield High School said: “We are delighted to have been given this prestigious award. We converted our whole school to LED lighting in 2019 which has undoubtedly been a large contributing factor. Our active eco team are especially thrilled to see the impact that this, in conjunction with their initiatives and proactivity, have had.”

It’s clear that reducing the production of C02 emissions has both financial as well as health benefits for your School and our Planets future.

Fairfield High Pupils with Rachel Lacey (Finance and Premises Manager) and Tamsin Whinton (Powerful Allies).

Another great success story from the Carbon Challenge was The Wren School (coincidently also part of Excalibur Academies Trust) who are so passionate about reducing their carbon footprint that they are currently raising funds for a new Eco-Classroom! They had just moved into a new building and their bills were ‘through the roof’ when we visited them in January 2020 to carry out an Energy Review. The results of that review were staggering and it just goes to show how a few small changes can make such a huge impact.

Lorraine Yearwood, Finance officer and Sustainability Representative explains more:

“We knew the building management system and the various controls around the building were complex – air conditioning, solar panels, heating, and lighting sensors and controls were all running at once and it was not easy to understand. We enlisted student volunteers to help us record temperatures at various times of day around the building over one month – discovering the top floor was by far the hottest in the building – we were then able to completely turn off the heating on the top floor. Following advice from the Ashden ‘less co2’ scheme, we then undertook an Energy Audit with Powerful Allies in January 2020. This was a revelation and immediately led to a complete reset of the various timer, heating, and ventilation systems around the building, ensuring they began to work as efficiently as possible.

Following this audit, we immediately saw our energy reduce from around 10,000 kg co2 emitted per month, to just 7,000. The baseline overnight levels for the building practically halved, and monthly electricity and gas bills dropped immediately from around £8,500 per month combined to around £5,500 per month. We are currently studying the overnight baseline levels yet further – to understand why there is any baseline activity at all, and reduce this even further, where possible. This energy reduction has been beyond our wildest dreams and has really made an impact on our co2 emissions this year – imagine the savings over a decade! We fully expect our EPC rating to improve this year as a result of the actions taken. Powerful Allies were helpful, informative, knowledgeable, and very professional throughout, can highly recommend them.”

So, What’s Next?

We’re so pleased with how the Carbon Challenge was received and we are now starting to implement this as an ongoing challenge for Schools to continue to reduce their Carbon Footprint.

We will work with our School clients to assess their energy needs and identify where the scope lies within to reduce it.

When you become a client (or if you are already an existing client) we will carry out a full audit of your usage followed by a review of your building infrastructure, current practices, and policies. You will then receive a personalised report of changes you could implement to start decreasing your energy use. You will gain access to our five-star online data monitoring service and expert guidance from our team, including Sean Midgley, our Joint Managing Director and leading Energy Reduction Specialist; one of the best in the UK in his field.

We will work with you to set an annual benchmark figure to reduce your energy consumption and ensure all measures are in place to make this as achievable as possible. We will review this together each year and work towards creating a brighter future for everyone.

What’s in it for you?

  • Expert advice and ongoing guidance, at no added cost to the School.
  • Your own online Monitoring Portal for real-time management of your Gas and Electric.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to a greener future to your staff, students, and parents.
  • Use of our Carbon Challenge Logo on your Website and Literature.
  • Regular Carbon Reduction Email Bulletins with seasonal tips on reduction.
  • Annual Reports to measure your progress and set future targets.

What can you do right now?

We invite you to join our free Virtual “Walk-in” Energy Clinic.

Within 48 hours our team will impartially and constructively assess your energy consumption and costs against our own contract benchmark database and provide expert advice on your carbon emission strategies. You will receive a simple colour coded summary, Green for “Excellent”, Orange for “Could improve” or Red for “Must action now”. There is no cost to you for this.

As an Approved Energy Partner for ISBL, Achilles, and Incensu, the key ingredients to our unrivaled reputation in the Education sector are;

  • reducing Energy consumption and costs for our clients,
  • providing 100% Renewable Energy at zero added cost, and
  • reducing Carbon Emissions,

If you wish to do your bit for your school and the environment but may not know exactly where to start, Powerful Allies will help.

Contact us now to get your School involved.


Are you looking for more information?

The Powerful Allies team are here to help, please get in touch or call us on 01380 860196.