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School set to save thousands with green energy project

New Inn Primary School has upgraded its lighting to cut costs and carbon emissions

Posted by Hannah Vickers | July 15, 2017 | HVAC & lighting

An energy-savvy primary school is set to save tens of thousands of pounds and significantly reduce its carbon emissions after investing in a £29,000 transformational green lighting project.

New Inn Primary School in Pontypool, which has held the prestigious title of an Eco Platinum School every year since 2008, has installed numerous energy efficient technologies as part of its commitment to improving its energy efficiency.

The new technologies, which include upgrades to existing lighting and the installation of lighting control systems to monitor usage, are predicted to cut the school’s energy bills by £5,000 a year, as well as reduce its carbon emissions and greatly improve the learning environment for its 590 students.

The energy improvements were made possible thanks to more than £29,000 worth of funding from Salix Finance, an independent, government-funded organisation which provides 100% interest-free loans to the public sector to increase its energy efficiency.

More than 350 dated lighting fittings, which no longer provided effective lighting to classrooms, were replaced with modern highly efficient T5 upgrades to create a better lit and more comfortable working environment for pupils and staff. A brand-new PIR controls system was also installed to monitor lighting consumption and ensure lights are only used when needed, resulting in 55,577 kWh of savings. 

Kate Pendergast, Head Teacher of New Inn Primary School, says that the new lighting has transformed the school

In addition to immediate financial savings from lower energy bills, the upgrades will also reduce general maintenance costs.

Kate Pendergast, Head Teacher of New Inn Primary School said: “As a school, we are very committed to improving our energy efficiency and pride ourselves on our platinum eco-school status. Everyone across the school from pupils to staff are involved in upholding our green measures.

“We are continually looking for further opportunities to reduce our school’s environmental impact and identified lighting as an area that could be improved. Without the funding from Salix, it would have taken several years to replace the amount of lights that we did.

For weeks after the project was completed, we continued to receive comments from visitors who couldn’t believe the transformation - Kate Pendergast, Head Teacher of New Inn Primary School

“The improvement in lighting levels is now considerable, with much brighter spaces, and has made such a difference to the learning environment for both staff and pupils. For weeks after the project was completed, we continued to receive comments from visitors who couldn’t believe the transformation.”

To ensure minimal disruption to classes, almost all lighting was changed during school holidays and pupils were informed of the school’s long-term energy ambitions, to encourage energy efficiency awareness, through their lessons, assemblies, and the school’s eco-committee which educates learners on environmental topics. 

The project was identified and supported by the Council’s Schools Energy Efficiency Officer, who advised the school on the potential new technologies and savings, ensuring business cases and loan agreements were satisfied by both the school and Governing body. The Council’s Property section procured the project via the local framework arrangements, with the work completed by a local SME.

Funding for the project was provided through Torfaen County Borough Council’s recycling fund; a 50/50 Salix Finance matched ring-fenced pot dedicated to investing in energy efficiency projects within estates and schools across the county borough.

The cost of the loan will be repaid over five years through the savings recouped from the reduced energy bills, meaning the financial impact of the upgrades for the school is minimal, enabling funding to be used elsewhere.  

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