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Schools could be saving more than £165,000 on energy costs

A new report has found that schools could be making big savings on their energy bills

Posted by Hannah Vickers | January 05, 2017 | Sustainability

As the demand for school places continues to mount, education leaders and local authorities are looking to new methods to streamline the school building process, decrease expenditure and to pioneer energy efficient models for the future. The Energy Performance Review – produced by Sunesis – has shown that schools could be saving, on average, £165,000 over their lifespan on energy bills.

The new report shows that schools designed by Sunesis, the joint venture between public sector owned built environment specialist Scape Group and construction experts Willmott Dixon, have surpassed the Education Funding Agency’s stringent guidelines as well as its own performance targets.

Derby’s Bemrose School, which was completed in January 2015, far surpassed expectations for the new breed of energy efficient schools being built across the UK – and also created more than 300 new school places.

Alasdair Donn, principal sustainable development manager, at Sunesis, said: “Across the country, we collated data from six Sunesis schools’ annual energy performance ratings.  Across the board, the designs achieved an average of almost 20% actual less energy usage than our design targets had anticipated – representing a saving of £2,800 per year for the school.

“Bemrose in particular has one of the largest margins in terms of annual energy usage, meaning that the school is on track to be saving in the region of almost £200,000 over its 60 year designed lifespan.”

Bemrose School has a series of high spec energy efficiency features – from light zoning operating on sensors throughout, with three skylights in each classroom and efficient underfloor heating linked to Air Source Heat Pumps.

Neil Wilkinson, executive head teacher at Bemrose, said: “There are also air regulating systems in all classrooms which maintain stable temperatures, as well as systems which maintain a balanced level of carbon dioxide. These design elements, along with solar panels, all contribute to incredibly low energy costs – as well as healthy learning environments.

“The efficiency of Sunesis’ schools was a key factor in the decision to implement a Keynes² design for Bemrose. There is also security in the knowledge that the designs come with a 60 year lifespan.

“The classrooms have been finished to an incredibly high quality and we were able to work with Sunesis to create some bespoke features. We have a very healthy relationship which has meant that the aftercare provided by Sunesis has continued to improve upon the existing facilities and adapt them further to meet the needs of the school community.”

Alasdair added: “As the schools places crisis is expected to continue and in some regions worsen, it is crucial that new education facilities are designed with future generations in mind; it is essential that energy efficiency is a key priority during the design process to keep costs to a minimum and provide pupils with modern working environments which will be wholly conducive to learning.”

Operating nationally, Sunesis develops schools with fixed costs, specification and delivery dates – which means that clients are aware of precisely what fee they will be paying and are assured that projects will not overrun. Providing inspirational learning spaces which meet the needs of schools and their wider communities is intrinsic to Sunesis.

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