Schools Energy Retrofit Programme

The Cambridgeshire Schools Energy Programme was first established by the  Energy Investment Unit in 2014. Since then we have worked with more than 55 schools across the county to invest more than £11 million in energy efficiency and energy generation projects. Collectively these schools are benefitting from over £600,000 each year in savings, while improving their buildings at the same time.

The aim is to help schools plan for the future and manage their energy bills, as well as operate more efficiently and reduce CO2 emissions.

Why get involved?

Schools face unprecedented financial pressures and need to ensure they are operating efficiently. Whilst it is a big commitment, the benefits for participating schools are tremendous:

  • Achieve guaranteed energy savings of 15-25%
  • Save money on utility bills and mitigate the impact of increasing utility prices
  • Revenue income over 20 years from government tariffs and incentives to generate renewable energy
  • Improved comfort levels and working conditions for staff and students
  • Reputational benefits arising from your school’s proactive approach
  • Support learning goals and help develop a shared sense of purpose amongst staff and students, to save energy

Specialised technical expertise is available from the service provider, using a tried and tested Energy Performance Contracting approach. 

We support the schools energy programme through providing loans or managed service arrangements to pay for the energy saving measures. Drawing down public sector capital from our Local Energy Investment Fund to pay for the works up front. 

Typical measures installed include: solar PV, LED lighting, Building Energy Management Systems, new boilers, Biomass, Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP), heat and lighting controls, solar thermal and combined heat and power (CHP)

Current project are focused on taking the schools off of gas or oil and moving onto low carbon heating alternatives like heat pumps. 

For more information about the programme email mlei@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Case studies 

Milton C of E Primary School was one of the first schools to participate in the programme and benefit from guaranteed energy savings. Following receipt of an Investment Grade Proposal (IGP), detailing potential measures and savings, a number of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) were installed across its three buildings in summer 2015.

One year after completion, the school has exceeded their performance guarantee, saving £16,000 on their energy bills.

Savings:

  • £11,000 energy spend reduction per annum
  • 26% savings on energy cost per annum
  • 45 tonnes of CO2 per annum saved

Value:

  • £166,000
  • Simple payback of 15 years

"This programme not only allows for the replacement of major items, but also creates a learning and working environment that is superb and energy efficient. The savings general will be used to ensure that Milton C of E Primary School continues to deliver the highest standard of education that the pupils deserve.”

David Lee, Chair of Governors, Milton C of E Primary School

Summary of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs)

Solar PV Array: Installed 30kW CIGS Solar PV Array with Export Limitation on the large south-facing roof, which will generate an annual financial benefit of £4,689, saving 8.4 tonnes of carbon a year.

Lighting Upgrade: An LED upgrade across the three buildings will yield around £1,400 in savings every year. It will also provide 6.4 tonnes of carbon savings.

Building Automation: Controlling existing plant via Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) and programmable thermostats will save the school in excess of £1,650 per year and around 9 tonnes of carbon.

Loft insulation: Improving loft insulation to current building standards will save a total of 2.7 tonnes of carbon and will free up more than £430 per annum in terms of saved heating cost.

Condensing Boilers: After careful consideration, it was agreed that all boiler plants would be replaced with modern condensing boilers, which will save more than 15 tonnes of carbon and more than £2,430 in heating costs.

Zoning: Zoning in different areas of the school will provide better heating control. This will enable the school to save an extra £190 in heating costs and contribute just over a tonne of carbon savings.

Insulation of heating components: By insulating the heating plant, the school will be saving in excess of £300 annually, which translates into approximately a further two tones of carbon savings per annum.

Soham Village College, a member of the Staploe Education Trust, is a large secondary academy set in a 40 acre site. Prior to the project the school consumed 2.4 million kWh of energy per annum at an annual energy cost in excess of £100,000. Much of the energy infrastructure on site was old and either inefficient or reaching the end of its lifecycle.

We invested £481,700 in upgrading the energy infrastructure at Soham Village College installing solar PV, LED lighting, replacing boilers that were at the end of their lives, and installing state of the art energy management systems across the site to enable optimised operation of heating. The school lease the equipment from the us, with lease costs being paid for from the savings in their energy bill. The lease terms give the school the option to buy the equipment at the end of the 15 year lease term at a pre-agreed residual value.

Summary of benefits:

  • £481,700 capital investment
  • 629,447 kWh energy saving per annum
  • 31,531 energy savings & revenues
  • 41,423 kWh of renewable energy generated per annum
  • 179 tonnes CO2 saving per annum

Summary of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs)

Solar PV arrays: 50 kW solar PV was installed in two separate arrays. The installation uses polycrystalline solar modules with a power optimiser system to maintain optimal performance, even if part of the system is shaded. Around 70% of the electricity generated will be used on-site, saving nearly £3,000 per annum in electricity costs, with the surplus exported to the electricity grid. The installation will also generate £2,400 of revenue for the school from Feed in Tariff and Export tariff payments and save nearly 16 tonnes of carbon per annum.

Condensing boilers and calorifiers: The selected solution replaced seven old, inefficient boilers with six new high-efficiency condensing boilers. Two calorifiers were replaced with new units and emitter controls were fitted to electric hot water heaters. This will contribute 22 tonnes of carbon and £3,000 to the overall savings.

LED Lighting upgrade: A total of 1,114 luminaires using fluorescent, tungsten halogen and HID (metal halide or sodium) were replaced with LED luminaires. This will yield nearly £15,000 a year electricity savings and provide around 80 tonnes of carbon savings per annum, as well as significantly reducing ongoing maintenance costs.

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning system insulation: Installation of tailor made insulation jackets and pipework lagging across 10 boiler houses will save the college around £1,600 annually. This translates into a further 7.8 tonnes of carbon saved per annum.

Building automation: Priva BlueID Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) were installed across all plant rooms, enabling the status and performance of all heating and hot water systems to be viewed and optimised via a web-enabled dashboard. This will save the college in excess of £4,400 per year along with nearly 33 tonnes of carbon.

Emitter controls: Programmable Room Thermostats were installed in 51 Fan Convector Unit heated zones, along with 98 Thermostatic Radiator Valves and integration of underfloor heating into BEMS control. This will yield nearly £2,200 a year savings and provide around 16 tonnes of carbon savings per annum.

Great Paxton Primary School had a previous annual energy spend of £11k per year and was guaranteed to save £7k per year (64% saving) with these new improvements.

Savings:

  • £11,000 energy spend reduction per annum
  • 62% savings on energy cost per annum
  • 20 tonnes of CO2 per annum saved

Value:

  • £97,000
  • Simple payback of 15 years

"It’s been a huge success. After one year we are cash positive and our electricity and gas bills have halved. We have generated income and reduced our carbon footprint, but most importantly, we have provided a better environment for our children to learn in. With the savings made we are in a position to provide more for our pupils.”

Lee Frost, Headteacher, Great Paxton Primary School

Summary of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs)

Solar PV array: Installed a Solar PV Array, sized at just under 30kW on the south facing pitched roof roof, it generates an annual financial benefit of circa £4.4k, saving 7 tonnes of carbon a year.

Lighting upgrade: An LED upgrade across the three buildings yields around £835 in savings every year. It also provides 4.6 tonnes of carbon savings.

Building automation: Controlling existing boiler plant via Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) saves the school in excess of £371 per year and around 2.3 tonnes of carbon.

Insulation : Improving loft insulation to current building standards and insulating the heating components within the heating system in the boiler room, this saves at least 3 tonnes of carbon and frees up more than £488 per annum in terms of saved heating cost.

Condensing boilers: After careful consideration, it was agreed that the boiler plant would be replaced with modern condensing boilers, which saves more than 5 tonnes of carbon and more than £867 in heating costs.

PV on a school roof
Solar PV example

Energy Performance Contracting

We deliver projects through a Call-Off Contract for Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) services.

EPCs involve the contractor taking on most of the risk for the performance of the energy saving measures they deliver. This means the performance of the projects is guaranteed by the EPC contractor, with the contractor paying for any shortfall in performance.

For schools, an EPC contractor:

  • Surveys and provides a Project Proposal and Outline Business Case free of charge
  • Delivers detailed Investment Grade Proposal and Business Case
  • Project manages installation of measures
  • Measures & verifies performance of measures during payback period relative to guaranteed performance

We have a budget for providing finance for schools energy efficiency retrofit projects

  1. Maintained Schools - A loan of typically 15 years. Up to 20 years can be considered for deeper retrofits involving boiler replacement
  2. Academies - A Managed Services Agreement (MSA) where the academy lease the equipment from us, typically for 15 years. Option to purchase equipment at end of term at a pre-agreed residual value

In both cases:

  • Interest on the capital is charged at public sector rates
  • Loan / lease payments can be funded from project energy cost savings and revenues
  • Interest rates are staggered to improve cashflow in early years of project

In order to ensure the project is performing as guaranteed, the Energy Performance Contractor assesses the performance of the energy conservation measures each year for the duration of the payback period.

Assessment includes routine adjustments for:

  • solar irradiance (weather)
  • heating degree days (weather)
  • (If required) Non-routine adjustments are made for unforeseen changes in energy use e.g. :
  • Increase or decrease in student numbers
  • Change in site/plant operating hours

An Annual Reconciliation Report is provided in draft, reporting on performance versus the guarantees, ahead of a meeting. These reports are a contractual document required as part of the energy performance contract, and must be agreed by the school, EPC contractor and County Council.

If there is a shortfall in performance, the EPC contractor compensates the school, unless there have been offsetting over-performances in previous years

Business cases assume existing infrastructure e.g. wiring, pipework, radiators, in good condition. A small provisional cost allowance is included for asbestos and other contingencies.

EPC contractor is responsible for Measuring & Verifying annual energy performance for the payback period

Energy savings are guaranteed for the duration of the payback with compensation payable in the event of an overall shortfall

School are strongly advised to maintain half hourly automated meter reading for gas meters. This enables accurate assessment of thermal performance and early identification of any issues

Some risks and responsibilities remain with school:

  • Operation & Maintenance of equipment
  • Energy price risk (eg. if energy unit costs are higher than predicted within the initial energy performance contract)
  • Weather
  • At handover, it is best if at least two members of staff are trained on new systems, in the event of staff changes, schools should obtain training from their servicing contractors

For more information on the programme, please email mlei@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Schools Programme - Brief 1_ What is the schools programme?104KBpdf
Size: 104KBFile format: pdf