Responsibility

Generation Green: Britain’s future energy innovators

Richard Brook, British Gas - Richard works within the British Gas Corporate Affairs team, managing their school and community education programme, Generation Green. He has been at British Gas for almost five years and enjoyed working across a number of areas including Sales, Insight and Brand and is currently undertaking a Professional Diploma in Marketing as part of a British Gas cohort.

Many people are often taken aback by the fact that it’s not the production of energy itself, but rather the energy we use to keep our homes and businesses warm and well lit, which forms the single biggest source of carbon emissions associated with our industry. As the UK’s leading energy supplier, we believe it’s therefore really important that we not only focus on reducing our own operational carbon footprint, but we also have a responsibility to help people use energy more efficiently in order to cut our collective contribution to climate change. We’re already doing a lot with our customers to achieve this by giving them the tools and technology needed to better understand and manage their energy use, but to secure real and sustainable societal change, we must actively engage the next generation. That’s exactly what British Gas’ Generation Green programme does and it’s what I want to talk to you about today, together with our exciting new competition where schools can win up to £150,000 worth of energy saving measures.

I look after Generation Green, which is British Gas’ education programme for children aged between 4-14, their teachers and their families. This means we provide free learning resources, educational experiences and invest millions of pounds in sustainable energy technologies for over 14,000 schoolsthroughout the UK. By doing this, we hope to actively inspire the nation’s young people to be curious about the future of energy and sustainability; sparking important energy conversations that will lead to dynamic ways to reduce energy use within schools and the wider community. And by helping people use energy more efficiently, it not only cuts carbon but also saves them money off their energy bill.

So I know you must be curious to learn how schools near you could win up to £150,000? Our latest competition, Energy Performance initiative, aims to inspire a generation of energy innovators and sustainable thinkers in the UK, by tasking them to design an ECO house that incorporates different energy sources. From that, we’ll pick six lucky schools on 23 May who will have the opportunity of competing for their Energy Makeover on 19 June at Westfield Stratford City in London. The winners will be decided on a specially commissioned dance floor, designed to capture the energy created by dance steps using Pavegen technology, which converts wasted kinetic energy from footsteps into electrical power. We’ll help the pupils create a dance routine while the three schools with the most creative and energy generating routine, will be chosen by dance experts, Jordan and Perri from Diversity. The lucky finalists will also have the opportunity to learn all about energy, including innovative technologies of the future like Pavegen.

British Gas experts from our Energy Performance team will then work closely with the schools to make them as energy efficient as possible. The school could for example benefit from a range of different energy technologies such as new boilers, insulation or solar panels.

Last year, we invested over £1.6m in energy saving equipment for schools through Generation Green with big benefits. One of the winners from a similar Energy Makeover competition to what I’ve just been talking about, Saltash.net Community School, has for example seen their energy costs reduce with income from Feed in Tariffs by over 12% (more than £10,200 per annum) and carbon emissions cut by over 6%(more than 30 tonnes of CO2 per annum) from the energy saving measures we installed.But Energy Makeovers aren’t the only thing Generation Green has been up to recently. We are also bringing to life sustainability in a more visual way for children through a bespoke school energy monitoring system and have run series of educational experience days at our Glens of Foudland Windfarm as well as at our Green Skills Academy in Wales, among many others.

We're passionate about energy and sustainability – so we’ll continue to work hard at making it an enjoyable learning experience and equip schools, students and the wider community with the information, tools and technology they need to make it easier for us all to cut carbon emissions and save money