MP joins celebrations to mark groundbreaking CO2 saving project protecting the environment for generations to come

‘We’re on a mission to save the planet,’ say children at Sussex School

Determined primary schoolchildren couldn’t wait to meet their local MP to explain what they are doing to protect the environment.

Horsham MP, Sir Jeremy Quin visited St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, Cowfold, alongside our Salix team, to open their new ground source heat pump.

The pump is part of energy savings work at the school largely funded by the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. The scheme is run by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and delivered by Salix.

The celebratory day at St Peter’s was also attended by the Bishop of Lewes, school governors, project contractors as well as the school Eco Committee members.

St Peter's CE Primary School

Group, from left, Bishop of Lewes Will Hazlewood, Gary Dimmock, and Sir Jeremy Quin, MP and headteacher Giles Kolter.

School student Charlie emphasised: “Now instead of burning oil, we’re using warmth from the ground, and using electricity, and less carbon is produced. 

“We’re here to save the planet.”

Sir Jeremy said: “It’s so important that we get the young generations on board and looking to the future. “

He praised the children, the staff and recognised the importance of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme in helping provide a better environment for the school and the community around it.

The Bishop of Lewes Will Hazlewood said: “This school and this project is hugely important to us.

“This is our chance to make a difference, this planet is our home, and we cannot continue to destroy it.”

Class students

The Eco Committee kids at St Peter's CE (Aided) Primary School Cowfold.

“It’s wonderful to be able to show everyone how this technology is working and what a success this project has been.

“Our old boilers were made in West Germany – so they were due to be replaced!

“Now St Peter’s is set to provide a sustainable venue for education in the years ahead, with the pupils of Cowfold able to have a unique understanding of how people will need to live in the future to ensure humanity survives on our wonderful planet.”

Giles Kolter Headteacher St Peter's CE (Aided) Primary School Cowfold

During the visit on Friday, March 1, Sir Jeremy unveiled a plaque that acknowledged the work of the school’s Premises Manager, Gary Dimmock who championed the project.

Giles added: “None of this would have been possible if it were not for Gary Dimmock. It was he who had the knowledge and passion to complete the grant application.”

Gary, who has qualifications in physics and astrophysics, has also worked as a project manager, and is also a skilled plumber and electrician. His grown children also attended St Peter’s where his wife also trained to become a teacher.

The Premises Manager is heavily invested in the school and now the ground source heat pump is installed cannot wait to move to the next stage of implementing further energy-saving measures.

Gary said: “There have been so many benefits of this project, the main benefit is that we are taking heat from the ground, and you wouldn’t even know it.

“We are very proud of this project, and it gives the school and all the children and those to come a better future.”

During the celebrations, the schoolchildren were able to highlight their own learning about the technology and environment. And pupils from the school’s Eco-Committee, along with experts from Nicholls Boreholes were able to explain how the ground source heat pump works.

St Peter’s was awarded £670,000 from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. 

Additional funds were awarded from The Diocese of Chichester and the School Trust.

St Peter's CE Primary School

St Peter's CE (Aided) Primary School Cowfold which was awarded £670,000 from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

This money meant the school could replace its old oil boilers with a state-of-the-art ground source heat pump. St Peter’s has gone from burning oil to heat the building, to completely running off electricity. The electricity is mainly from renewable sources – with the Bolney Rampion sub-station a few miles away.

A large proportion of the grant was also used to insulate the school building, so that the heat pump would be more effective. The re-insulation element of the project involved St Peter’s replacing the felt surface of the entire flat roof; as insulation was placed beneath it. 

Giles added: “We are thrilled to have been successful to receive this vital funding. The ground source heat pump will be far more environmentally friendly than our old oil boilers. 

“This was an ambitious project for us, and our whole school community, and our pupils learnt a great deal by the school being involved.

“It is such an incredible opportunity for our community to play its part in saving our planet and we are using it to educate the children about the issues that face us, as humanity, and the solutions that we have.” 

Salix client support officer Ned Jordan said: “We are delighted to see this project come to fruition and to see how engaged the children and whole community has been.

“Not only will the project help reduce carbon emissions, but it will help make the school a healthier and more comfortable environment to learn and work.”

During the day Sir Jeremy along with our Salix team were able to talk to the children about other positive actions they were taking around the school to make St Peter’s one of the most environmentally friendly schools in the area.

These actions include; daily litter picking patrols, composting of all fruit waste from children’s break-time snacks, daily water saving checks and a daily electricity saving inspection which is carried out every lunchtime by the school’s youngest pupils.

Others attending the celebrations included representatives from C.B.G. Construction Ltd, who were the main contractor responsible for the project. A team from Nicholls Boreholes Ltd, who installed two linked ground source heat pumps. Representatives from Philips Surveyors Ltd, who were the consultant firm managing the project, also attended.

The project has been funded by Phase 3b of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme project. It is a multi-year scheme, and the school will spend a remaining £50,000 on energy efficiency works next year.