Schools to benefit from £10m in decarbonisation pilot programme

Four schools in the North will benefit from more than £10m of decarbonisation funding, through a framework operated by Merseyside-based Fusion21.

Seven schools in total have been selected to take part in the £18.6m innovative Decarbonisation Pilot, led by the Department for Education (DfE).

The pilot will see schools benefit from new low carbon heating solutions, as well as improvements to the buildings fabric to make the school more thermal efficient, all procured through frameworks from Fusion21.

Energy bills and carbon emissions in the public and higher education sectors shows that schools and universities represent 36% of total UK public sector building emissions.

The transformational work to reduce carbon emissions to make those schools selected as part of the pilot, significantly more energy efficient has recently got under way.

The schools include Acton CofE Primary Academy, in Nantwich, which will benefit from £2m of funding, Calveley Primary Academy in Tarporley (£1.8m), West End Academy, in Wakefield (£3m), and Richmond Hill Primary Academy, in Doncaster (£3.4m).

Where necessary, the schools’ building fabric will be improved with upgrades ranging from new electrics, roofs and ceilings to new doors and windows amid a government drive to make educational buildings greener.

The contractors were appointed via Fusion21’s Decarbonisation and Heating & Renewables frameworks which ensures housing, local authority, education, blue light and health sectors maximise social value in contracts.

All Fusion21 contractors are committed to ensuring social value is embedded into their work ranging from employing locally where possible to apprenticeships and community projects.

Oliver Mooney, head of category at Huyton-based Fusion21, said: “It is fantastic to have been involved in such an important Department for Education project and to support the schools who used our framework to appoint the contractors for these transformational, multimillion-pound improvement works which will vastly improve the buildings, bring huge energy savings and carbon emission reductions and ensure pupils, teachers and parents are playing an important role in decarbonisation and net zero ambitions.”

The Government project will support the drive for existing school buildings to be adapted and new ones designed adequately to respond to climate change and reduce emissions.

The pilot will provide a valuable opportunity to learn more about alternative greener heating solutions and to use the learnings to consider how this can be scaled up to accelerate decarbonisation in the future.

Research found that in 2019, schools alone were spending around £630m per annum on energy – with today’s figure expected to be much higher.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme will provide £1.425bn of grant funding for public sector bodies to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures, including schools over the financial years 2022-2023 to 2024-2025.