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Energy saving solutions for Victorian and Edwardian school buildings

Energys advises on how to upgrade old school buildings so that they are energy efficient

Posted by Lucinda Reid | February 13, 2017 | Sustainability

The Independent writes that an estimated 3,000 UK schools are thought to include Victorian buildings. While they may be fantastic pieces of architecture, such edifices are sadly, unsuited to modern learning.

The problem is worrying; the Guardian says 43% of school buildings in the South West aren't fit for purpose. Aging high ceilings, rising damp, poor insulation and cold, unpleasant lighting and aesthetics are common, which could be damaging the next generation of skilled youngsters.

David Simmonds, Conservative Chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people’s board, told the Guardian: “What we mustn’t do is to get into a situation where schools have to close because things are so bad.”

So, rather than knocking down historic educational infrastructure, a wiser approach seeks to retrofit for sustainability, breathing life back into these beautiful but presently inadequate learning environments.

LED lighting for schools can help save energy with quick ROI

Although just part of the solution, LED lighting upgrades from Energys have been proven to benefit both aesthetics and the learning experience in older schools; revitalising their appeal for this century.

It pains me there are so many other schools around the country putting up with bad lighting that is wasting energy, and also impacting negatively on the learning experience

Located in Tower Hamlets, Harry Gosling Primary School is a case in point, having recently instigated an LED upgrade at its Edwardian-age site. The new lighting is set to deliver £7,000 annual savings, with return on investment (ROI) in just 4 years.

In terms of the end result, there is no doubt a dramatic improvement in lighting quality has been achieved. “Light is now a lovely daylight colour and is uniformly diffused, while there are no issues with glare; Energys products having been designed with a very specific focus on reducing glare,” said James Doherty, School Premises Manager.

Salix funding for Victorian legacy buildings

For managers tasked with working out how to save energy in schools, finance is often a key barrier. Salix funding can provide the solution: it delivers 100% interest-free capital to the public sector to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

It is therefore a simple way that schools can make tangible improvements at no upfront cost; pay back the loan with the energy you save. Across the country, Estate Managers have called the scheme a no brainer, and many are thrilled with the results.

James is a staunch supporter of the scheme and its usefulness in Tower Hamlets as he said: “Because of Salix funding, the school is essentially not incurring any additional costs for the project since repayments can be made from the energy savings.”

“It pains me there are so many other schools around the country putting up with bad lighting that is wasting energy, and also impacting negatively on the learning experience,” continued James. “Evidence about the positive benefits of LEDs for education is increasing all the time. In the future, I would love to show other schools around to help showcase the advantages of the latest LED lighting.”

The wider challenge

"There are so many Victorian or Edwardian school buildings struggling with an inadequate learning environment,” commented Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys. “At Energys, commitment to sustainability and energy reduction is our key driver. Recently, the Government has recognised the need to improve energy efficiency via the Priority School Building Programme."

“The Programme isn't available to all schools however. But nonetheless, all can improve; we are delighted to advise any school that approaches us; we know holistic measures help aging schools save energy and keep children warmer and happier,” said Kevin. “LEDs, boiler controls or power optimisation, all are coherent, logical energy saving ideas for schools upgrading from legacy buildings to sustainable equipment, fit for purpose now and into the future.”

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