Energy at schools and other council buildings

The council is taking steps to ensure we use energy more efficiently and reduce our dependence on non-renewable fuels. Our target is to reduce our carbon emissions from our buildings by 10% by 2019, compared to 2013/14. See our Carbon and Energy Policy for our strategy to achieve this.

Energy purchasing

The council is part of the LASER energy buying group, which enables us to jointly purchase energy at competitive rates, along with other public sector organisations. In total, for all our buildings (schools, offices, libraries and fire stations) and street lighting, our energy bills total £13 million each year.

Improve efficiency of our buildings

We have an ongoing programme to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, investing more than £13 million in our estate since 2009.

We have installed a network of smart meters to provide us with more accurate energy consumption information, including day to day patterns of use on a half hourly basis. We have used this information to target investment in energy efficiency works. We align our improvements with our buildings' maintenance programme to take advantage of opportunities in the most cost efficient way.

Many buildings have been improved with measures such as draught proofing, heating controls and zoning, energy efficient lighting and motion sensors, boiler replacements and switching fuels from oil to gas or biomass. We have upgraded computers to 'thin clients' laptops which are smaller computers that access computing power from a central server. Overall this system uses less energy than older style desktop PCs.

We also organise training and campaigns to enable and encourage staff to use buildings and equipment efficiently.

Energy in schools

Schools account for over half of our total energy consumption. We support community status, voluntary controlled and foundation schools by providing information, advice and guidance. All schools in Surrey are encouraged to manage energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and integrate energy awareness into the curriculum. Some schools, have chosen to manage their own budgets directly such as Academies and this includes funding for energy efficiency works. Voluntary Aided schools should also liaise with their Diocise.

Various funding options are available to schools, including Salix and other local arrangements such as power purchasing agreements to fund solar panels

Please see our Surrey Sustainable Schools webpages for more information

Renewable energy

We have over 30 sites which generate their own energy from renewable sources. These account for a small but increasing proportion of our total energy demand. Examples include:

  • wood pellet boiler for heating at High Ashurst Outdoor Learning Centre near Dorking and the Highways Depot at Merrow
  • solar panels for electricity at 26 schools (community, voluntary controlled and foundation), installed under various funding agreements. In some cases community co-operatives have raised funding locally, such as the Wey Valley solar co-operative.
  • solar thermal water heating, for example at Woking High School
  • ground source heat pump at Applewood respite home for children in Tadworth.

Street lighting

In 2010 we signed a contract to transform the county's street lighting system with the biggest roll-out of new energy-saving technology in the country. The lights are brighter and use slightly more energy at full power, but because they are now controlled and can be dimmed at certain times of the night, less energy is used overall.

Business travel

We have a travel plan to help staff reduce their need to travel and to travel by sustainable modes, to result in less pollution, less congestion, a healthier workforce and to use budgets more efficiently.

Energy Consumption and greenhouse gas emissions

We annually report our energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) including carbon dioxide, which were emitted from our own estate and operations. More information on this can be found by following the link at the bottom of this page

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