Dorset school’s energy efficiency upgrade

A Dorset boarding school is on track to wipe thousands of pounds off its annual energy bills, while reducing its carbon footprint

St Mary’s, a boarding and day school in Shaftesbury, has appointed leading energy solutions company Anesco to undertake the project, which will see a range of upgrades made across its buildings generating energy cost savings of at least £130,000 annually.

The measures will be delivered through an ESCO, an investor-funded, shared savings model. The model works by first assessing current energy usage, before recommending which range of measures could be installed to bring the greatest benefits. Measures are then installed at no upfront cost, with the cost of the installation recouped for investors through the savings generated over 19 years.

The measures at St Mary’s are being provided by AESSL, one of the investee companies of the Ingenious Energy Efficiency EIS Fund, who has invested £2 million in the project.

Adrian Pike, CEO of Anesco, said: “We’re delighted to be working with St Mary’s. The ESCO model is designed to enable organisations to reduce energy expenditure while improving the efficiency of their buildings, to upgrade housing stock and end-of-life equipment, all without the need for capital. It is perfect for organisations like St Mary’s which have high energy use across multiple buildings.”

James Axtell, investment director of Ingenious Clean Energy, commented: “It is estimated that over 70% of today’s buildings will still be in use in 2050. It is imperative that the UK’s property stock becomes more efficient to mitigate the risk of rising energy prices over the next four decades. The beauty of the ESCO model is that saving generation is instantaneous for both building owners and investors that supply the funds.”

Among the improvements planned for St Mary’s, the school will have 220kWp of solar PV installed both on the roofs of buildings and on the grounds in the site, generating 20% of the school’s future electricity requirements. A 995kWp biomass boiler will also be introduced to provide heating for the school’s multiple buildings and reduce gas and oil costs by up to 70%. 

Further energy saving measures will include a new air-handling unit to manage heating for the school’s swimming pool, 1600 new LED lamps, and valve insulation to improve the heating infrastructure.

Smart metering and screens showing energy savings are to be introduced in the school’s four main ‘houses’ and pupils will be encouraged to think about their own energy use and to take part in a ‘greenest house’ competition.

Headmaster at St Mary’s, Richard James, commented: “At St Mary’s we aim to be environmentally responsible in all we do and we’re always looking at ways to improving our energy efficiency. Through this project we will be dramatically reducing our carbon footprint and also engaging pupils, to encourage them to think about their own impact.

“The ESCO model is fantastic as is allows us to make energy efficiency improvements straightaway, without the need to allocate funds.”

Anesco works with businesses, local authorities, housing associations and homeowners looking to reduce their carbon emissions.

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