Energy in schools
Energy and water is one of the biggest spends for schools after staffing. We encourage schools to sign up to BESS Energy which provides local support to understand your energy and carbon footprint, provided online monitoring and behaviour change support as well as identifying physical interventions such as solar panels and LEDs.
Energy efficiency capital funding from government
In December 2022, in response to the energy crisis and anticipated reduction in energy cap for non-domestic businesses from March 2023, all schools and colleges were allocated an additional capital funding budget to deliver energy efficiency measures.
A typical primary has been allocated £20k and average primary £50k. This funding should be delivered on energy efficiency measures and can be spent up until March 2025.
Through guidance provided, schools have been instructed they should spend this funding on capital projects, prioritising projects that improve your school estate’s energy efficiency – however where local conditions exist, they may spend on other prioritised capital projects. For Leicester City schools the total value of funding is around £2.8m. We strongly advise investing in energy efficiency measures which will reduce your running costs, while energy prices continue to increase.
Schools are expected to be spend in this financial year 2022/23. However, normal terms of devolved formula capital apply meaning they can be spent up until March 2025. We strongly encourage schools not to rush into installing technology as the government released £443m to schools in December 2022, however schools will not see energy reductions until measures are installed.
Typical measures include
- LEDs (internal and external)
- Motion sensors
- Solar PVs
- Building management system (BMS) upgrades
- Windows and insulation
The Department for Education has provided additional guidance on energy efficiency.
As landlord to local authority (LA) schools and to the majority of academies in the city, consent will be required for the majority of works.
Estates and Building Services (EBS) can support schools through capital works to carry out a basic survey and identify the most cost effective way of reducing energy through the additional capital funding through our BESS programme. For those not in BESS we are able to support schools (with a slightly higher management fee).
We are asking all LA schools (and encouraging all academies) to complete a short eForm to help capture works being delivered to:
- Identify where landlord consent will be required
- Support increase energy and carbon reduction
- Showcase good practice and collate potential carbon savings across the city
Please complete the eForm by Tuesday 18 April 2023.
For schools that would like support to install energy efficiency measures please contact us on SustainableSchools@leicester.gov.uk. For those schools that have already contacted us, we will be following up with site visits or Teams calls in the next few weeks.
Thank you very much for your support.
Energy in schools
Schools like all organisations are struggling with increased energy prices. While the Energy Bill Relief Scheme will go quite a long way to supporting schools with increased energy prices (in the short term), we know this is just one of many things increasing in price which is creating real challenges to schools balancing their budgets.
Until recently (in the last academic year) energy prices were typically 14p/kWh for electricity, 2.5p/kWh for gas and 150p/m3 for water. We are now seeing energy prices that have climbed to over 65p/kWh for electricity and 14p/kWh for gas, water has remained relatively stable during this time.
During the last two winters we have seen increased gas usage due to windows remaining open due to ventilation requirements. While we still encourage high levels of ventilation in all classrooms, this can be monitored by portable CO2 sensors and opening windows as appropriate to temporarily increase air flow. Once CO2 levels reduce, windows can then be closed again. In a lot of our modern secondary schools the air handling units which circulate air within the building means that windows generally do not need to be left open. If in doubt, please consult your site manager.
Below you will find more information documents about how to tackle your energy spend including a suggested heating and cooling policy for schools.
Please consider the environment.