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Schools energy work brings down usage costs

Energy efficiency work across Denbighshire schools is tackling budget pressures by helping to reduce costs.

Denbighshire County Council’s Energy team has delivered and is working on several projects to help improve council building energy efficiency and also support the reduction of carbon emissions and usage costs over the longer term.

The work is part of the Council’s drive to continue reducing the carbon footprint of the county following the declaration of a climate and ecological emergency in 2019.

Recently the Energy Team reached a landmark of over a megawatt of installed renewable energy capacity (1099kWp). The majority of this energy is generated from roof mounted solar PV panels and is enough to power 364 homes.

Part of the work for the team has involved looking at school buildings to build in innovative methods to bring down energy use from the National Grid and help lower long term running costs.

Since the programme of work started in 2021 over 30 schools have received work carried out by the team, funded by the Council’s energy management and climate change budget and by Welsh Government via the Low Carbon Heat Grant and Capital Funding Grant to support capital maintenance and energy management.

Work included the introduction of air source heat pumps, PV solar panels on building roofs, installation of LED lighting, improved heating controls , upgraded heating systems and energy related behaviour change through engagement with site staff and also lessons on energy efficiency for the pupils.

Heatpumps have been installed in Ysgol Betws GG, Ysgol Tir Morfa, Ysgol Brynhyfryd can turn one kilowatt of electricity into three kilowatts of heat.

LED lighting installed reduce energy loads by at least 50 percent and the team has also worked to add loft and wall insulation as well as draught proofing where appropriate to further save utility costs.

These sites have also had solar PV, LED lighting, modified heating controls and battery storage to minimise export of surplus solar PV generation.

By reducing energy use at the school this also reduces energy bills. The total cumulative cost savings achieved have been around £300,000 which is directly saved by the school as they don’t have to pay for the energy.

Not only does this work create a direct saving for the school budget it also reduces carbon emissions from each site which in total at the completed schools save 533 tonnes.

Robert Jones, Principal Energy Manager said: “We are really grateful to everyone at the schools we have worked with for helping us carry out this important work for tackling the reduction of carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency across the Council’s school building portfolio.

“This is a substantial amount of work that will also support the lowering of long-term energy usage costs for the schools and we look forward to continuing to work at other educational sites across the county to help them.”

Helen Vaughan-Evans, Head of Corporate Support Service Performance, Digital & Assets, said: “We know there are pressures for our educational sites and this work that has been carried out since 2021 by the Energy team will help the schools that took part continue to drive down energy use and costs over the long term.

“The Energy team is continuing to work with more schools across the county to assist and advise them in how to reduce energy usage and save on long term costs and I look forward to seeing more innovative results at these sites.”

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