Monday, November 28, 2022

£21k pa savings for Somercotes Academy following ground breaking environmental project

Somercotes Academy has invested in a ground-breaking environmental scheme which will slash energy bills and reduce its carbon footprint.

A heat pump, thought to be the first of its kind in northern Lincolnshire, will replace the 31-year-old system to help provide the heating and hot water in a £520,000 scheme.

Lincolnshire Gateway Academies Trust has secured the funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of its Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, delivered by Salix Finance.

The scheme aims to put the public sector at the forefront of decarbonising buildings in the UK.

The school has also installed 359 solar panels at the site and swopped out all internal lights to LED.

The project is expected to save more than 3,000 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide being emitted into the earth’s atmosphere over its 25-year lifespan.

Trust Chief Executive Officer Martin Brown said unpredictable and increasing costs of oil, together with the opportunity of funding, prompted the move.

“Somercotes is our only Academy where heating is provided by oil,” he said.

“We’re proud to be installing energy efficient, air source heat pump technology and showing our students we are reducing our environmental impact, something as young people they feel very strongly about.

“The scheme will also help with rising energy costs. Oil for the old boiler system costs around £20,000 annually, expected to rise to between £25,000 and £30,000 this winter.”

The air source heat pump is estimated to save almost £9,000 a year and the solar panels more than £12,000 through on-site generation.

“With all the improvements, we’re anticipating a cost saving of £21,000 annually, money which can be used to benefit students elsewhere in the Academy,” said Mr Brown.

Salix Finance delivers funding on behalf of Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and also offers support and expertise to the public sector to decarbonise, improve energy efficiency and lower bills.

The project was driven by Rob Middleton, Facilities Officer at LGAT. He and Facilities Manager Mark Shadbolt watched as the £200,000, 7.5-tonne heat pump, was dropped into its position using a 75-tonne crane.

He said: “I saw the scheme through doing some research last October and we heard of our successful bid in February, so it’s been a long road to this point.

“It’s going to have a dramatic impact on our carbon emissions. The heat pump will reduce the carbon dioxide produced every year by 69%, preventing 98 tonnes going into the atmosphere annually. The solar panels will account for a further 26 tonnes and changing to LED lights 25 tonnes.”

Mr Shadbolt said: “Seeing it in situ is a big relief. Rob’s put in a huge amount of work to get it to this point and we’re just looking forward to progressing with the scheme.”

The switch from oil to the heat pump is scheduled to be completed in the February half term.

The solar panels across three rooftops have been installed and are already generating up to 50% of the school’s required energy. The heat pump will make up the shortfall.

Smart metering and a building energy management system will provide data to ensure the system is operating effectively.

Fouad Amuni, client support officer at Salix Finance, said: “Working on the Trust’s decarbonisation project has been really exciting and inspiring.

“They got rid of a 31-year-old fossil heating system and are replacing it with clean, energy efficient heat pumps.

“They’re also adding solar panels and Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS).

“They’re making a really positive environmental impact by saving over 3,000 of tonnes of carbon over the next 25 years and at the same time educating future generations about the importance of renewable and sustainable energy.”

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