Staffordshire University Academies Trust is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) which consists of 20 academies, made up of 19 primary schools and one secondary school, serving over 4000 pupils. The Trust was awarded £96,880 as part of the Phase 2 Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) to decarbonise All Saints Church of England Academy in Denstone. The funding, provided by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and delivered by Salix, will see the installation of air source heat pumps replace its current oil-fired boiler system.
With its pre-existing oil-fired boiler system being in situ for over two decades, since the building was commissioned in 1999, and the boilers reaching the end of their lifespan, there was an adverse environmental and budgetary impact on the building which needed to be addressed. The new system ensures that the building is both warm and energy efficient and will provide an environment which supports quality teaching and learning.
In addition to the installation of air source heat pumps, its building energy management system and heating control valves will also be upgraded, in a move which will see the trust significantly improve its energy efficiency and reduce its
annual carbon footprint by over 21 tonnes. Jo Goodwin, Office Manager at All Saints, described how proud the Academy is in becoming one of the first schools to lead the way in reducing their carbon footprint by installing the new air-sourced heating system.
“We are incredibly pleased with the successful application to the decarbonisation scheme. The replacement of the oil-fired boilers at the Academy has been a high priority for us at SUAT, given the age and inefficiency of the system. The grant has enabled us to upgrade All Saints heating system to an energy sustainable solution, with a bureau-controlled energy management to ensure that the system can be managed to maximum efficiency. The new system has enhanced the teaching and learning environment in school, and is much more in-keeping with the Academy’s sustainability initiatives."
Hope Kirkham, Operations Manager at Staffordshire University Academies Trust
Encouraging sustainability initiatives
All Saints Church of England Academy has actively involved its pupils, who are passionate about the environment. As part of their curriculum, pupils have been learning about climate change, and in 2021, to mark COP26, pupils learned about positive changes they could make to support a healthier planet.
In key stage 2, each child has made a pledge of the changes they are committed to as well, with examples including walking more often, switching lights and electrical items off, planting and growing more. They also wrote letters to Greg Hands, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, about their pledges, the new boiler and heating program and the improved energy rating that they are anticipating for their school building. The Academy runs an eco-club, where pupils look after the pond and observe wildlife growing in the area, learning how to grow and cook their own vegetables. They have gardening days as well, were parents, grandparents, teachers, pupils and carers spend time in the garden and tidy up.
Staff are also encouraged to operate more sustainably; government sustainability guidance and tips are regularly shared with staff, as well as looking at how this can be developed for the Trust.
Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme
The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is funded by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and delivered by Salix Finance. The scheme was made available for capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects within the public sector non-domestic buildings including central government departments and non-departmental public bodies in England only, to deliver the following objectives:
1. Deliver stimulus to the energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation sectors, supporting jobs.
2. Deliver significant carbon savings within the public sector.
Further information about the PSDS and further schemes can be found on the Salix website.