Schools’ Energy Efficiency – Resources and Opportunities

Category: Energy Efficiency

UK Schools’ Energy Efficiency


Currently schools across the UK spend just under £400 million on energy every year and account for nearly 15% of public sector carbon emissions, it is projected that this cost will rise to £1bil in 2020. The main areas of concern are heating, catering, lighting and more recently computing.

Programs introduced as long ago as 2010 provide opportunities for schools to save £44mil per year in reduced energy expenses and prevent 625,000 tons of CO2.

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Energy Efficiency Programs and Opportunities available for Schools


A starting point is to pinpoint exactly where a school could start saving money.

Surveying the buildings with a non destructive infra red survey will highlight areas of concern and provide the data needed for schools to retrofit their existing buildings with energy conservation measures, thereby reducing carbon emissions and achieving substantial annual cost savings.

Contact your local surveyor for more information about a non destructive survey.

Understanding Energy Efficiency  have resources for sustainable schools and focus on these areas:

  • Food & Drink
  • Energy & Water
  • Travel & Traffic
  • Purchasing & Waste
  • Buildings & Grounds
  • Inclusion & Participation
  • Local Well-being
  • Global Dimension,  won funding from The Big Lottery to provide a free service to local East Midlands community organisations to reduce their energy costs, save money and heighten efficiency

Providing bespoke information to schools and community organisations to help them understand how they use their energy and how through behavioural change, improved control and appropriate technology will lead to  its more efficient use. The benefits of these savings being:

  • Spending savings more productively, e.g. on education
  • Reducing carbon footprint
  • Encouraging participation and empowerment
  • Creating a better environment to learn, work or play
  • Raising student attainment

Resources for Green Schools

Getting Started in your School’s Green Revolution

Join over 6,000 schools are now taking part in this free sustainability programme from The Co-operative. It’s free for all UK teachers to join giving them access to resources, events and school trips to find out about wind farms, renewable energy, healthy living and more.

An energy reduction initiative programme, cofunded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme of the European Union is working with London-wide schools to retrofit the existing buildings with energy conversation measures using the competitive, performance based RE:FIT building retrofit programme.

The Carbon Trust offer sector based advice on how schools could save £44mil per year in reduced energy expenses and prevent 625,000 tons of CO2 with programs underway such as the Saving Energy in Schools Best Practices – a guide for teachers, which contains benchmarks for comparison. It is worth mentioning that the Carbon Trust also offer a guide on Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme found here . IRT Surveys can help with ESOS too. Do contact us about it.

Further resources, information and action plans on energy efficiency for schools can be found at SEED Sustainability and Environmental Education and Eco Schools, operated by the FEE Foundation for Environmental education.

Ashden LESS CO2, a sustainable schools program began in 2010, in London, Devon, Essex, Surrey and Hampshire. The progress to date includes 43 schools joined in 2014 with a targeted 100 for 2016.

  • 818 tons of CO2 saved
  • £200,000 savings in reduced energy bills

The program is supported by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mark Leonard Trust and Wates Family Enterprise Trust.

Programme Details:

  • Education – 4 workshops
  • energy saving
  • meter reading
  • monitoring energy use
  • staff & student behaviour changes
  • sustainability in the curriculum
  • Mentoring
  • Energy Audit
  • Advice on Steps to Reduce Energy Use


  • Reduced CO2 & energy bills
  • Increased awareness amongst youth
  • Local economy stimulated by using local
  • solar power installers
  • energy advisors
  • contractors

Funding for Schools Energy Efficiency Projects offer loans for schools interest free to schools in England enabling these schools to use Salix funding to install the best possible energy efficiency technologies in their estates.  The Schools programme has an extended compliance criteria of an 8 year payback and  £200/tCO2 lifetime for energy efficiency projects. The new compliance criteria will enable many eligible schools to use Salix funding.