Schools have been identified as one of the largest areas of carbon emissions in Herefordshire. In March 2020 Herefordshire Council committed to net zero emissions by 2030.
During the financial year 2018/19 the emissions from all of the 97 schools in Herefordshire are estimated to be 5,496 tonnes CO2e which constituted one-third of Herefordshire Council’s total carbon emissions of 16,119 tonnes CO2e.
Schools were keen to do their bit to contribute towards net zero by 2030 but in many places weren't aware of all the actions they could take that were in their control or simply a good place to start. We needed to find a way to help schools to manage the energy they use to ensure they were confident in starting or continuing their journey to reducing their emissions and address climate change.
We identified that a good way to encourage a reduction in energy use would be for schools to understand the financial savings they would also be able to make.
In Herefordshire 63 out of the 97 schools are maintained (non-academy) schools. During the financial year 2019/2020 maintained schools spent £973,288 on energy: 57 primary schools spending £578,987; five secondary, two special and one pupil-referral unit spending £394,301.
A 10% saving in energy usage could result in an approximate overall financial saving of £97,300 for maintained schools.
Officers from the Sustainability and Climate Change Team worked with a group of local teachers to put together a resource pack for schools which provides them with a method and ideas for reducing their energy usage that will automatically lead to a reduction in your carbon emissions.
The schools pack has been praised by local teachers as an extremely useful tool.
However it was developed during the Covid pandemic in mid-2020 and, following the other issues schools have faced through the various lockdowns and the ongoing struggles with Covid, we have not managed to encourage as many schools to engage in the process of using the pack as we would have liked.
We plan further publicity again later this year.