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Carbon Reduction and Energy Efficiency in Schools

Being an energy efficient school can mean big savings on energy bills, provide real-life learning opportunities, as well as tackling climate change through cutting carbon emissions.  Many schools in Bath and North East Somerset are looking to improve the energy perfomance of their buildings and are using energy more efficiently; some are also promoting the benefits of energy efficiency to their local communities too. 

Schools Carbon Reduction Programme

Schools in Bath and North East Somerset Council are working hard to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions by engaging their staff and pupils and investing in their buildings.

To help them the council has put in place a programme of support which includes:

    • Free detailed energy surveys and energy use analysis for all schools, including academies
    • Training and support in accessing and interpreting energy use data and using this with pupils and eco teams
    • A new invest to save loan fund for energy efficiency projects
    • A target fund to assist with implementing the most effective carbon reduction measures
    • Guides and advice in implementing an energy management system
    • Procurement support for; replacement lighting, heating controls and insulation

Energy Surveys

In 2013 71 Schools received a detailed energy survey report, based on analysis of energy data, management questionnaire and site survey.  The report includes action plans for caretakers, senior management and pupils to help them implement the recommendations in the report.

Events were held throughout June 2013 to disseminate general findings of the surveys. The presentation from the event for senior schools staff is available from the menu to the right.

Heating Controls Project

The Energy Survey Project highlighted the large potential to save energy through better management of existing heating and hot water systems. In response, the Council funded a project to make adjustments and provide training for the complex controls. The project reduced gas use by an average of 11% in Schools taking part.

Energy Management in Schools

Energy management is how a school protects itself from rising energy prices, engages pupils and staff, provides a comfortable space for learning and integrates this work into the curriculum.

Managing energy is just like managing any other aspect of an organisation, you need a process for keeping it in check. But it is different in that pupils, staff, teachers and governors can all be involved and energy management can offer exciting real life learning opportunities for your pupils. Energy management can bring big savings; an average secondary schools loses so much energy each year that they waste the equivalent to the salary of a newly qualified teacher!

See the report from the Carbon Trust

Read the Overview to Energy Management

Step by Step Energy Management

To assist in setting up and running your energy management programme in your school we have produced guides to each step of the way. These guides cover; Setting Up Your Energy Team, Reviewing The Energy Management Matrix, Writing Your Energy Policy, Monitoring and Targetting Energy Use, Writing and Implementing Your Action Plan and Energy Work in the Curriculum. These can be downloaded from the menu on the right.

Training Workshops

The council, in partnership with Resource Futures, runs training programmes for school staff explaining how to access and use energy data, and run pupil led switch of campaigns. Presentations and materials from the workshops can be downloaded from the menu on the right. 

Presentations and materials from the workshops can be downloaded from the menu on the right.  Please contact if you are interested in attending a future workshop.


As schools budgets are squeezed and energy costs rise, just like other sectors it is paramount to ensure expensive energy is not wasted. However some schools struggle to find upfront costs for energy savings projects. 

A an invest to save loan fund is available for maintained schools to borrow upfront costs and then repay this from the energy savings accrued. This means schools should see no additional spend due to the energy efficiency. Once the loan is repaid they see the savings in their budgets. As energy prices rise investing in efficiency now ensures larger avoided costs over the long term.

Projects with quick ‘payback periods’ should be tackled first. A payback period is the length of time a particular project takes to recoup the original investment through energy savings. So a measure which costs £500 but saves £250 a year has a payback period of two years.

What this means is if a school waits 2 years before implementing a project with a 2 year payback period they have already spent the same amount as the project costs, but in energy spend that could have been avoided.

There are various ways for schools to finance carbon reduction work and improvements.  Please email for the most up to date information on what is available. 

Solar Panels

Bath & North East Somerset Council issued a briefing note to answer schools questions and it covers some of the key practical things to consider when looking to install solar panels, including; making solar panels pay for the school, benefits to the school, signing leases and planning permission.

Eco Team and Eco Schools

“Eco-Schools is an international award programme that guides schools on their sustainable journey, providing a simple framework to help make sustainability an integral part of school life. Eco-Schools can help enhance the curriculum and get the whole school united behind something important”

Most schools in Bath and North East Somerset Council are registered with this free programme and seeing resulting benefits. It is one way to become a more sustainable school.

The DfE states “Multiple sources of evidence suggest that being a sustainable school raises standards and enhances young people’s well-being. Research supports the idea that this is because sustainable schools engage young people in their learning, thereby improving motivation and behaviour, and also promote healthy school environments and lifestyles."

An Eco Team is a central part of both energy management and the Eco Schools Programme. Read this guide on how to set up your team, who should be on the team and what they should do:

Bath and North East Somerset Council provide further support for schools to become more sustainable, as well as help with energy management there is the Director of Public Health Award and services from the Waste and Recycling Team. See below for further information.

Central Energy Contract

The Council manages a central energy contract for schools, meaning schools pay a fair price for energy and have Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) meters installed on their energy supplies.  AMRs mean accurate billing and the ability for each school to view its half-hourly energy consumption online; a great tool for identifying energy saving opportunities.

Further Sources of Support and Information

The Carbon Trust

Offer impartial expertise, guidance and resources on carbon reduction and have a long history of working with the public sector and schools.  The School Sector Overview (CTV019) provides guidance on anyalysing energy use and where to look for the best opportunties.  There is also an extensive range of free publications about specific technologies.

The National Framework for Sustainable Schools

Provides a roadmap by which those working and studying within the school sector can begin to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from schools and school related activity (still current, published in 2010 by DCSF).

Learning and Behaviour Support and Information


An international environmental award scheme for schools, rewarding and accrediting schools that have made a commitment to improve their environmental performance. Many schools in Bath & North East Somerset are registered on this is a free programme. If you would like support in getting started with Eco-Schools or moving on to your next award please contact Helen Peake at Resource Futures.  Download the Environmental Review Documents that Resource Futures have developed for Bath and North East Somerset primary pupils.

B&NES Eco-Schools Directory

A directory of organisations, groups and professionals that work with schools on sustainability, environmental and global citizenship related activities in the Bath and North East Somerset district.

The Pod

An excellent resource for teachers and pupils who want to make their school more sustainable, and is designed to support the Eco- Schools programme.

Carbon Detectives

Provides support and ideas for actions that your school can take to reduce their carbon footprint. It also provides tools to allow schools to monitor their progress and report their savings.

Generation Green

Helps to make your school more sustainable with free lesson plans and a fun website.

Food for Life Partnership

Teaching resources, case studies and  information on everything you need to know about the Food for Life programme.

Sustainability and Energy Management

Energy Management is really an essential part of sustainability, and reducing energy use is the best way for a school to reduce its environmental impacts; but it is not the only way to be sustainable. The Council is supporting schools in a number of other ways, including: 

The Director of Public Health Award for Schools

Early Years and Colleges recognises the work carried out by settings to make a real difference to the health and well-being of children and families in Bath and North East Somerset. The Award encourages settings to think about sustainability issues linked with maintaining a healthy weight and many involve their children and young people in activities particularly linked to active travel, cooking and growing food.

To find out more about the Award, go to the Director of Public Health Award webiste or contact,uk

Waste and Recycling

Bath & North East Somerset Council offers free activities and services to support learning about waste, recycling and composting.  See our web pages for information and advice about recycling and waste collections. Free compost bins are available on request (while stocks last).

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