AN energy savvy primary school in Torfaen is set to save around £5,000 a year and significantly reduce its carbon emissions thanks to an innovative lighting project

New Inn Primary School in Pontypool, which has held the title of an Eco Platinum School since 2008, has installed numerous energy efficient technologies as part of its commitment to improving its energy efficiency, including upgrades to existing lighting throughout the school and the installation of lighting control systems to monitor usage.

The new technologies are predicted to cut the school’s energy costs and carbon emissions as well as greatly improve the learning environment for its 590 students.

The energy improvements were made possible thanks to a loan of £29,000 from Salix Finance, an independent, government-funded organisation which provides funding to the public sector to increase its energy efficiency.

The project involved the replacement of 350 dated lighting fittings, which no longer provided effective lighting to classrooms, with modern highly efficient upgrades that have helped to create a better lit and more comfortable working environment for pupils and staff. A brand-new PIR controls system, which monitors lighting consumption, will ensure that lights are only used when needed, resulting in an impressive 55,577 kWh of savings.

As well as the immediate financial savings made from lower energy bills, the technologies also have the added benefit of reduced general maintenance costs.

In total, the upgrades are expected to generate approximately £57,200 worth of savings over the lifetime of the technologies.

Kate Pendergast, Head Teacher, New Inn Primary School “As a school, we are very committed to improving our energy efficiency and pride ourselves on our platinum eco-school status. Everyone across the school from pupils to staff are involved in upholding our green measures.

“We are continually looking for further opportunities to reduce our school’s environmental impact and identified lighting as an area that could be improved. Without the funding from Salix, it would have taken several years to replace the amount of lights that we did.

“The improvement in lighting levels is now considerable, with much brighter spaces, and has made such a difference to the learning environment for both staff and pupils. For weeks after the project was completed, we continued to receive comments from visitors who couldn’t believe the transformation.”

from an upgrade.

Pupils at the Primary School were made aware of work being carried out as well as the school’s long-term energy ambitions through their lessons, assemblies, and the school’s eco-committee which educates learners on environmental topics. To ensure minimal disruption to classes, almost all lighting was changed during school holidays.

The funding for the project was provided through Torfaen County Borough Council’s recycling fund; a 50/50 Salix matched ring-fenced pot dedicated to investing in energy efficiency projects within estates and schools across the county borough.

The project was identified and supported by the Council’s Schools Energy Efficiency Officer, who advised the school on the potential savings and technologies, and ensured business cases and loan agreements were satisfied by the school and Governing body. The Council’s Property section procured the project via the local framework arrangements, with the work completed by a local SME.