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6 June 2024
Public Sector

Schools Low Carbon Work Features at National Conference

A team’s work to lower carbon across Denbighshire schools has featured at a national conference.

Denbighshire County Council’s Energy Team took the stage at the Journey to a Net Zero Wales 2024 event hosted by Salix, Welsh Government and Welsh Government Energy Service at Venue Cymru.

The event brought together speakers from a wide range of sectors to share their ideas, visions, and breakthroughs to build a network of learning on the road to net zero.

The Energy Team was invited to speak at the event about the work they have done across schools in the county to improve energy efficiency, lower carbon emissions and reduce long-term running costs.

Work carried out by the team at more than 30 schools so far is part of the council’s drive to address the climate and nature emergency declared in 2019 and reduce its own carbon footprint. Projects have been funded by the council’s energy management and climate change budget and by Welsh Government via the Low Carbon Heat Grant and Capital Funding Grant to support capital maintenance and energy management.

On site work at the schools has included the introduction of air source heat pumps, PV solar panels on building roofs, installation of LED lighting, improved heating controls upgraded heating systems and energy related behaviour change through engagement with site staff and also lessons on energy efficiency for the pupils.

Heatpumps are now operational at Ysgol Betws GG, Ysgol Tir Morfa and Ysgol Brynhyfryd. These can turn one kilowatt of electricity into three kilowatts of heat.

LED lighting installed has reduced energy loads by at least 50% and the team has also worked to add loft and wall insulation as well as draught proofing where appropriate to further save utility costs.

These sites have also had solar PV, LED lighting, modified heating controls and battery storage to minimise export of surplus solar PV generation.

The total schools project cumulative cost savings achieved have been around £300,000 which is directly saved by the school as they don’t have to pay for the energy.

Work has also reduced carbon emissions from each site which in total at the completed schools save 533 tonnes.

Projects carried out on schools and other council owned buildings has also seen the Energy Team reach an important landmark of over a megawatt of installed renewable energy capacity (1099kWp). Most of this is generated from roof mounted solar PV panels with many installed on school buildings.  Each Kilowatt generated by PV can save around 30 pence.

Energy Project Officer Martyn Smith said:

“We are really grateful to have been given the opportunity at this event to talk through the work staff from the Energy team have carried out through our school projects. For every school we have worked through a one building approach has been taken to help us look for innovative ways to maximise energy efficiency on each site.

“All the schools we have worked with have been fantastic with support for the team’s ideas and have helped us pinpoint the best solutions to install to bring down their energy use and costs as well.”

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