Work by Hampshire County Council to install solar panels, double-glazed windows and improved heating control systems has been completed at more than 200 schools, with further work at more schools and other public buildings to follow in the coming months.
Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Commercial Strategy, Estates and Property, Councillor Steve Forster said: “It is a key priority for Hampshire County Council to cut carbon emissions in response to the climate emergency. This ambitious programme of upgrades for hundreds of Hampshire’s schools and public buildings is one of the largest of its kind in the country and it is already delivering reductions in carbon emissions as well as cutting energy bills. This is a major undertaking to retrofit so many buildings in this way and I’m delighted that more than two hundred projects are now completed or underway at sites across Hampshire, with hundreds more to follow.”
Over 300 schools in Hampshire are expected to be included in the carbon saving scheme and will receive one or more energy efficiency measures - this includes the installation of double glazing to replace older single-glazed windows and doors; solar photovoltaic roof panels; gas boilers to replace oil-fired boilers; or heating control upgrades to ensure heating is only used when needed. Other buildings included in the programme include libraries, outdoor activity centres and County Council offices taking the total number of projects in the energy efficiency programme to around 500. For example, one of the latest buildings to receive solar panels is Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. The upgrades are expected to be completed across 2022.
To undertake this work, the County Council has secured £29.3m from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which offers grants for public sector organisations to fund energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects across their estates. Buildings in the Hampshire scheme have been assessed to ensure they meet the programme’s eligibility criteria which sets out cost effectiveness against predicted carbon savings.
Hampshire County Council declared a climate emergency in June 2019 and is committed to mitigating against and building resilience to climate change with a target to bring carbon emissions in Hampshire down to net zero by 2050.
Councillor Jan Warwick, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “We are putting climate change at the heart of all we do and in this case, delivering both carbon and financial savings for Hampshire’s schools and public buildings. By delivering at this scale, our energy efficiency programme is playing a part in helping the county to recover from the economic impacts of Covid-19 by providing a boost to skilled jobs in the low carbon and energy efficiency sectors. What is great about this programme in particular is how it is making a positive impact in hundreds of school communities and helping pupils to learn more about this vital issue.”
Collectively the double-glazed windows, gas boilers and heating controls are forecast to achieve a combined reduction of around 6% in the annual carbon emissions from heating Hampshire County Council’s buildings, equating to a reduction of approximately 1700 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The photovoltaics are expected to cut carbon emissions by 2000 tonnes (over the 20-year lifespan of the PV panels, this saving will gradually lessen as more electricity in the UK national grid becomes generated from renewable sources)