Tring School has just improved its energy efficiency rating for the second successive year. This is a statutory process for public buildings over 500m2 called Energy Performance of Buildings. The building is given a rating of A through to G (much the same as on a domestic appliance) and an operational ‘score’. Typically, buildings like Tring School’s would have a rating of D or E and a score of 100. The recent assessment gave Tring School a C grade and a score of 64, an improvement from 111 in 2013 and 72 last year.
This has also meant a huge reduction in CO2 emissions. In 2013 the school was emitting 617 tonnes per year. This was reduced to 380 tonnes in 2014 and 316 tonnes in 2015. Given that a tonne of CO2 is approximately the size of a three-bedroomed house this is an awful of lot ‘greenhouse gas’ that has been avoided. The reduction in gas usage is approximately 34% which has led to a saving of over £13,000 per annum.
This improvement has come about through initiatives such as improved roofing insulation, implementing LED lighting, more efficient boilers and raising student and adult awareness of the benefits of turning off devices.
Reducing energy consumption is just one of the items on the School’s ‘Green Agenda’. This is student led through the Eco Council, which is currently working towards the coveted Green Flag award, having achieved the Silver Eco Schools award last year.
Tring School has also seen an astonishing turnaround in the effectiveness of its recycling. From next to nothing in 2013 the school now recycles 99% of the rubbish it creates. Other initiatives include infra-red taps and flush management systems to reduce water usage, and energy-efficient blade hand driers to reduce paper waste. Environmental issues are frequently covered in assemblies and are firmly embedded in the curriculum. The school has just started working with a local primary school in order to share its good practices and to look for new ideas.
The school is on the verge of starting a major rebuilding project and a critical element of this will be using sustainable energy sources in order to further reduce the school’s carbon footprint. Another project in the pipeline is for Tring School students to raise the funds to purchase a commercial composter. The plan is for the output from this to be used on a school allotment that will in turn provide produce for the school kitchen.