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Education trusts team up to create eco-friendlier schools

ByAnna Harrison

Sep 16, 2021

Two of the North East’s largest Catholic education trusts have come together and developed a major energy efficiency programme to improve the green credentials of their schools.

A key part of the programme has involved a £1.85 million joint trust investment for a LED lighting replacement programme, removing over 1,100 tonnes of carbon every year across 58 schools.

Working with WN1 Lighting Solutions, the initiative will reduce the carbon footprint of the schools within Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust (BCCET) and Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust (BWCET). The programme will not only help the environment but will also create savings of nearly six million pounds over a 20-year life span.

Brendan Tapping, CEO at BCCET, said: “Making our Trust and our schools more environmentally friendly is one of our key priorities.

“We’re always looking for ways to be greener and cleaner. Sustainability and protecting the planet is a big part of our ethos and we teach this to our children every day whether that’s through encouraging pupils to cycle or walk to school when possible, recycling campaigns or saving water initiatives.

“I’m very proud of the commitment shown from our teachers and support staff to our energy efficiency programme and it’s been great to work with another trust with similar values as we continue to reduce our carbon footprint.

“The programme will also produce cost savings for both trusts which can be reinvested back into our schools whether that’s from a buildings or external perspective or through specific educational initiatives we choose to implement across our schools.”

The majority of funding for the programme has been provided via the England Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (SEEF) which enables public sector organisations across England, Scotland, and Wales to take a lead in tackling climate change by increasing their energy efficiency.

Nick Hurn OBE, CEO at BWCET, said: “To put things into perspective, the 1,100 tonnes of carbon both trusts will save each year equates to the electricity consumed by all households in Sunderland for almost seven years.”

“It’s really important to practice what we preach so while teaching our children to think carefully about the impact their actions may have on the environment, it’s important we, as education trusts, proactively drive sustainable efforts too.

“It’s been great to partner with Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, working together to help improve energy efficiency across our schools and lower their carbon footprint.

“The amount of money it will save in the long term is astonishing. By acting now, we can lower costs which can be put back into our schools, to support our continued efforts in the provision of a high quality, inclusive and diverse education.”