Advice hub

‘We’ve pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030’

‘We began lift-sharing (pre-Covid) and also encourage pupils to walk or cycle to school. We generate some electricity from solar panels and have timers on our taps, as well as water butts for rainwater harvesting. Our canteen has adopted a “no beef” menu and uses Vegware food containers. We’re also creating wild spaces in the school grounds.’ Jenny Chapman, biology teacher, North London Collegiate School

‘We saved £8,000 a year by changing behaviour around energy use’

‘St Francis Xavier School in North Yorkshire saved an incredible £8,000 in a single year. We shared the school’s energy data with staff and students in a drive to reduce usage by switching off lights, PCs and projectors at the end of the school day. Selling energy back to the grid from 48 on-site solar panels banks a further £1,500 a year. The school has also taken action on food waste, after throwing away a staggering five tonnes of food waste in the first year of measuring. In the second year, we reduced it to four tonnes and saved £500. The student eco team has

almost eradicated single-use plastic from the school and promoted recycling of cans and

plastics. The team presented its sustainability vision to the local community, challenging the council and community groups.’ Margaret Land, former business manager at St Francis Xavier and now sustainability lead at the St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust, which oversees St Francis Xavier and 16 other schools

‘We’ve been able to connect food with nature’

‘With an allotment and a large “hotbox” composter, we have zero food waste and even incorporate our chickens’ eggs into the curriculum. We also have some solar panels and would like to install more.’ Tom Parkin, headteacher, South Molton Primary School, North Devon

empty rooms. Schools can also be more selective about when heating is switched on or off (many turn it on in October and off in April, while heating is often on during weekends and holidays). In fact, 60% of the energy used by schools is outside of teaching hours. Understanding how your boiler works will help you use it more efficiently too. Installing energy-efficient boilers

and LED lighting, as well as improving wall and roof insulation, will lower energy use and generate long-term savings. You could also consider on-site energy generation through solar panels – there are grants and support available from a range of sources, including Salix Finance, and you can sell excess

energy back to the grid (find out more in Green up your School in the spring 2020 issue of FundEd).

Cut waste, buy local Schools can help lower water bills by installing water butts and harvesting grey water on site for watering and use in toilets. Investing in waterless urinals and push-button or sensor taps will also create savings. Measuring the amount of food

thrown away each day can send a powerful message to pupils and staff. Composting food on site reduces waste disposal costs and supports school gardens. (See FundEd spring 2020). You can also encourage pupils to use refillable

water bottles and cut down on packaging – particularly plastics. Thinking local when it comes

to procurement can reduce mileage and delivery costs. You can also look at the sustainability of any materials you purchase – everything from paper to food, to furniture.

The next step It is estimated that it will cost an enormous £23.37billion for all education buildings in England to reduce their carbon emissions to zero by 2030. However, signing up to Let’s Go Zero ( is the first step. The Transform Our World ( initiative is also a great source of inspiration and advice.

FundEd SPRING 2021 23

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