Thameside Primary School. Where new windows and solar panels have been installed

Council School Decarbonisation Project Saves Thousands in Cash and Carbon

Reading schools are set to save hundreds of thousands of pounds in soaring energy costs next year and more than 2,584 tonnes of carbon for years to come, thanks to a successful school decarbonisation project led by the Council.

Six double glazing projects, three roof insulations, six LED lighting schemes and 20 solar PV projects have been delivered across 22 sites as a result of the initiative which was completed this Autumn.

The roof insulations and window improvements will help to reduce heat loss in the airy school buildings, with heat retained and fewer draughts making for a more comfortable classroom environment for pupils.

It is estimated the work will save over £150K across the 22 sites this year. With soaring energy prices, it is predicted to save over almost £220k across the Reading schools next year.

Importantly from a climate perspective, the programme represents a significant investment in the current and future energy performance of the schools estate, saving an estimated 2,584 tonnes of carbon over the lifetime of the products.

The 22 sites which benefitted are:

  • Alfred Sutton Primary, Solar PV System
  • Blagdon Nursery, LED Lighting Replacement and Solar PV System
  • Blagrave Nursery, Solar PV System
  • Caversham Primary, LED Lighting Replacement and Solar PV System
  • Caversham Park Primary, LED Lighting Replacement and Solar PV System
  • Coley Primary, Double Glazed Windows and Solar PV System
  • Emmer Green Primary, Flat Roof Insulation and Solar PV System
  • EP Collier Primary, Double Glazed Windows
  • Geoffrey Field Infants, Solar PV System
  • Holy Brook Primary, Solar PV System
  • Manor Primary, Solar PV System
  • Micklands Primary, LED, Lighting Replacement and Solar PV System
  • Moorlands Primary, Double Glazed Windows and Solar PV System
  • Norcot Nursery LED Lighting Replacement and Solar PV System
  • Redlands Primary, LED Lighting Replacement
  • Southcote Primary, Solar PV System
  • St Michaels Primary, Solar PV System
  • Thameside Primary, Double Glazed Windows and Solar PV System
  • The Hill Primary, Double Glazed Windows, Flat Roof Insulation and Solar PV System
  • The Ridgeway Primary, Solar PV System
  • Whitley Park Primary, Flat Roof Insulation and Solar PV System
  • 1 Dunsfold Road (Stepping Stones Nursery) Double Glazed Windows and Solar PV System

The work is a pre cursor of more work to decarbonise Reading schools more fully in the future, reducing heat loss, electricity consumption and generating renewable electricity to pave the way to switch from fossil fuel gas boilers and towards renewable heat sources like heat pumps.

The project feeds into the Council’s commitment to drive Reading towards net zero carbon by 2030.

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Climate Strategy and Transport saidThis is yet another example of the Council combining its own resources with successful bids for external funding, this time to significantly reduce emissions from our school estate.

“As a town, Reading boasts the 4th largest cut in carbon emissions in the UK since 2005, at 55%. School estates are generally not the most modern or energy efficient sites, with many located in older, large and draughty buildings. Successful projects like this one will play an important part in driving us towards our ambitious goal of a net zero Borough by 2030.

“The Council has cut its own carbon footprint by over 70% since 2008/09 but we are responsible for less than 1.5% of the town’s overall carbon footprint. It is very clear that reaching net zero carbon is not something any Council can achieve on its own, and we are no different. We need residents, communities, businesses and organisations across Reading to get involved and play their part.”

Client support officer from Salix Finance Beatrice Morrison said: “We are delighted to see such extensive work across schools in Reading, making a difference to everyone who uses these buildings, from the children, to staff, parents and the wider community.

“We are happy to support Reading on its journey to net zero and its wider energy saving goals, having a positive impact on the environment.”

Brian Grady, Interim Director of Children’s Services and Director of Education at Brighter Futures for Children, said: This programme of works will have a big impact on our schools and pupils. Our children will be learning in a more comfortable environment and the schools will be saving money on their energy bills, which is vital at this time.

“I would like to thank the Headteachers, staff and pupils of the schools involved for their cooperation while the works were carried out and to the council and its partners for delivering this hugely valuable project.”

Watch Reading Borough Council’s decarbonising Reading’s schools video here >

Funding for the school decarbonisation project came from the Council’s own Education Capital Grant alongside £1.4 million of funding from the Government's Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS). The PSDS funding is administered by Salix Finance on behalf of the Government’s Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The work was delivered by the Council’s Property & Assets Education Development team with support from Hampshire County Council Property Services, as part of the two authorities’ long-established property partnership arrangements.

Notes to editors

Salix Finance delivers Government funding to the public sector to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills. Salix Finance is a non-departmental public body, owned wholly by Government and is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Education, the Welsh Government and the Scottish Government. 

Salix Finance is currently delivering funding for Phases 1, 2 and 3 of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) as well as Phase 3 of the Low Carbon Skills Fund. In addition, funding continues to be available for Scotland and Wales.

Hampshire County Council has provided in-house expertise to assist Reading Borough Council in the successful application for Salix funding and in the delivery of this decarbonisation programme.

Reading and Hampshire have a long-established relationship through the ‘Reading Hampshire Property Partnership Limited’ (RHPP) that provides an ability for Reading Borough Council to access multi-disciplinary teams from Hampshire County Council Property Services and its procured private sector consultancy partner.