- Reaping the rewards
- Panels, pipes and posters
- Head teacher says legacy will last for 25 years
Tom Jones may have sung of the ‘green, green grass’ of his homeland, Wales, but that’s not all that’s green in this beautiful country. For Ysgol Hiraddug school in Denbighshire, North Wales, winning a Generation Green makeover courtesy of British Gas saves them money, day in, day out.
For proof, look no further than the data monitor in the school’s corridor, which is often surrounded by a lively group of pupils. It tells them that every year, their school is saving enough electricity to power a games console all day for up to four years, and enough oil to provide heating and hot water for up to three homes.
Clever kids win eco kit
What makes it more special to the youngsters is that the innovative piece of kit is only there largely because of their efforts. The children wrote letters expressing why they felt that their school in Dyserth deserved an energy-makeover as part of a Generation Green competition by British Gas.
Now they are reaping the rewards of the initiative, having slashed bills by more than 25%; this means that school funds can be better spent on educational equipment. New solar panels, upgraded boilers and insulated pipes have allowed the school to make savings of around £5,000 a year.
Head teacher, Gary Hulson, said the energy makeover has had both environmental and educational benefits and will provide a sustainable legacy lasting 25 years.
“Changes were made to the boilers to make them more efficient in how they burned oil and the pipes were also insulated,” he says.
“Fifty solar panels were put on the roof and we were given a monitoring display screen so that the children can keep an eye on solar power output and the savings being made. The children are fascinated by it.”
The 65-year-old school accommodates 220 pupils who have now formed an eco committee to promote energy efficiency. The school even sells some of the electricity it generates back to the National Grid.
Praising the scheme, Mr Hulson describes the benefits: “There’s been lots of spin-offs from it in that the children are now more aware of energy saving mechanisms themselves and can enforce them at home.
“They’ve also encouraged the message throughout the school by designing posters and putting stickers on light switches urging people not to waste electricity.
Staff have also learnt to regulate classroom temperatures more effectively and there’s far more awareness of the need to turn off computers, projectors and visualisers after use.”
A long-term legacy
The Generation Green programme has invested over £18m on installing energy-saving equipment for schools since 2013. So far, British Gas has given 44 schools across the country an energy makeover, installing solutions such as solar PV, LED lighting, insulation, new efficient boilers and child-friendly energy dashboards. To date, the makeovers have resulted in a combined energy spend saving of £135,000 per year and reduced CO2 emissions by almost 800 tonnes.
“We’re not just talking about a one-year initiative here, we’re talking about a 25-year legacy so this is something we can encourage in pupils long-term,” says Mr Hulson.
“Also, what we have saved in energy bills has allowed us to spend more money on practical equipment for the children. The most surprising part of the initiative is how easy it’s been to manage and there is also scope to add to it in the future.
The children have been so enthusiastic about the whole process because they’ve been so heavily involved from the start. They can see on the data monitors what those energy savings equate to which has proved to be a really effective way of getting the green message across.”
As they say, seeing is believing and by the looks of it the positive impact of this energy makeover is here to stay.
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