Industry News

British Gas to lead energy efficiency revolution in schools

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, today announced British Gas' role in a £12 million energy efficiency initiative to help schools and pupils to become energy aware.

The move will help meet the Government's goal to reduce carbon emissions in schools help local authorities comply with the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC).

From today, all publicly funded schools will be invited to apply for a free energy display meter giving an accurate real-time reading of how much electricity a school building is using. Schools will be able to use this data to inform decisions about how to make energy savings.

Schools account for around 2 per cent of UK green house gas emissions, with 9.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted annually by schools in England*. The energy display meters, which are provided and installed by British Gas, are expected to help reduce consumption by 10-15 per cent, around 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, and it is estimated that it will save an average 900-pupil secondary school more than £3,000 a year on fuel bills alone**.

Partnerships for Schools will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of the project, working in partnership with British Gas, as the selected private sector partner. This contract comes on the back off British Gas being awarded the Buying Solutions framework to provide Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) services across electricity, gas, water, and aM&T/ sub-metering solutions to the public sector market.

The initiative will also see school children becoming experts in energy efficiency, as pupils will be able to see in real-time on large ‘dashboard' displays how their behaviour, such as switching on lights, computers and electrical equipment, affects the school's electricity use. The project is being supported by the British Gas Generation Green educational programme which has created a range of learning resources, including lessons plans, which are specifically designed to be used alongside the ‘dashboard' displays.

Speaking at Pimlico Academy, one of the first schools to sign up to the initiative, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the Rt Hon Ed Balls MP said:

"School children of today have a real desire to become the environmental champions of the future - and we need to harness this interest. This £12 million investment will enable schools to lead the way on an energy revolution, helping staff to reduce energy consumption, and helping children to better understand the importance of their behaviour in tackling environmental issues."

Kanat Emiroglu, Managing Director of British Gas Business said:

"British Gas is committed to supporting the public sector in meeting government targets to reduce carbon emissions and we are proud to be at the forefront of the biggest revolution in energy efficiency since the switch to natural gas in the home in the 1970s.

British Gas is the largest provider of advanced and smart meters to the public and private sector. Smart and advanced metering, combined with our Energy Services and our multi-site expertise, are already showing how our customers can be put back in control of their energy usage, helping them use less energy, cut carbon emissions, comply with government legislation and save money."

Tim Byles, Chief Executive of Partnerships of Schools, said:

"The use of display meters is a great way to engage young people's interest in the environment and energy efficiency. In Building Schools for the Future schools where display meters are already in operation, there has been a real enthusiasm for using the information generated in lessons and changes to behaviour both in schools and at home. We're looking forward to making this opportunity available to more schools across the country."

The display meters project was announced today in conjunction with an awareness campaign designed to help schools reduce their overall energy costs. It will be supported by a broad coalition of public, private and third sector partners, all of which have a shared interest in reducing energy usage.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has a long term goal for schools to be sustainable by 2020. The Zero Carbon Task Force was set up in 2008 to advise on how best to achieve this, and two key recommendations made by the Task Force in March 2009 were the use of energy display meters and a comprehensive awareness campaign to help change energy efficiency behaviour in schools.

All primary and secondary state schools in England will be eligible to apply for a free sub-meter. An information pack will be available to all schools, and schools will be given instructions for how the meter should be used, and guidance on how it can support teaching and learning.

For more information about the Buying Solutions framework, contact the British Gas Business team on 0845 026 7532 or by emailing BuyingSolutionsAMR@centrica.com.

Notes to editors

Photographs of Images of the ‘dashboard' display are available from:kate.saner@bluerubicon.com

About British Gas

  • British Gas, the biggest energy supplier in the country and part of the Centrica group of companies, has the lowest carbon intensity of any of the major UK energy suppliers in terms of tonnes of CO² emitted per megawatt hour of electricity supplied to customers. For more information go to: http://www.britishgas.co.uk/
  • Generation Green is British Gas's nationwide schools programme designed to empower teachers, schools and their local communities to tackle climate change through greener behaviour, with over a third of UK schools already benefiting from the programme. For more information go to: http://www.generationgreen.co.uk/

About Partnerships for Schools(PfS)

  • PfS is the government's delivery agent for the full suite of capital investment programmes into schools, helping ensure that taxpayers get the best value from every education pound spent.
  • PfS is responsible for the delivery of around £8bn investment into education until 2011- through Building Schools for the Future; the Academies programme; the Primary Capital Programme; and the Devolved and Targeted Capital Programmes.

For further information please contact:

kate.saner@bluerubicon.com

matt.beasley@centrica.com


*Source: The Sustainable Development Commission

*Source: Carbon Trust

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