A sixth form college in Wigan is set to save tens of thousands of pounds and significantly reduce its carbon footprint by investing in a range of energy efficiency upgrades.
Winstanley Sixth Form College chose to install several energy efficiency technologies including lighting upgrades and boiler replacements. The projects have allowed the college to take in more students without increasing its energy use or carbon footprint.
The new technologies are predicted to cut the school’s energy spend by more than £32,500 per year. Installing energy efficient technology comes with many other benefits including an improved learning environment and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
These energy improvements were made possible due to more than £158,000 worth of interest-free funding from Salix Finance. Salix is an independent, government-funded organisation which facilitates energy efficiency improvements across the public sector.
The college’s project involved the replacement of inefficient fluorescent lights throughout the school with efficient LEDs. As part of the upgrades, voltage optimisation was implemented to help save energy by regulating the incoming power supplied to the lights. Occupancy and daylight controls were installed to ensure that lights are only used when needed. Installing voltage optimization and controls as well as replacing the lighting ensures that Winstanley makes their lighting system as energy efficient as possible.
As well as opting for more energy efficient lighting, the college chose to upgrade its heating system, replacing its existing inefficient boilers with new biomass and gas boilers. To increase the efficiency of the school buildings cavity wall insulation was installed throughout which has reduced heat loss and energy waste.
In total, the improvements are estimated to save the school more than £562,000 over the lifetime of the technologies, and reduce their annual carbon footprint by 183 tonnes CO2e*. In addition to the immediate financial savings made from lower energy bills, the upgrades also have the added benefit of reduced general maintenance costs.
Conor Edwards, Director of Finance & Resources at Winstanley Sixth Form College said:
“Our buildings are brighter and warmer than they used to be which keeps our college environment pleasant for students and staff to work and study.
“At a time when ESFA capital funding is heavily committed to improving the estate of academies and schools, it is useful to have Salix funding available to support college energy savings. Through this, we are able to make a contribution to slowing down our impact on climate change.”
The school will repay the cost of the project over the course of 5 years from the savings recouped from the reduced energy bills.
Once the loan is repaid, the school will continue to benefit from the predicted annual savings. This means that the project was initially cost-neutral for the school, and once the loan is repaid funds will be freed-up to use elsewhere.
For more information on the funding available from Salix for maintained schools & sixth form colleges please click here.
* Calculated using emissions factors published by government for carbon foot-printing in 2017.