14 schools are closer to achieving net-zero at the end of the first phase of an ambitious county-wide decarbonisation initiative delivered by SSE Energy Solutions in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council.
Schools such as Chepstow Comprehensive were assessed on their energy efficiency with solutions then identified to generate clean energy, such as Solar photovoltaics (PV) on roofs or carports.
This project has reduced carbon emissions from 22 council-owned buildings to date, with offices and leisure centres also being retrofitted with smart energy, heating and lighting systems.
The initiative is projected to deliver savings of up to 1,704,443 kWh/443tCO2 – the equivalent electricity used by approximately 600 houses over the course of a year.
Tunde Olaoye, Smart Energy System Sector Director at SSE Energy Solutions, said: “Replacing old lighting technology with LED, installing ultra-efficient motors and installing Solar PV across sites reduces energy, carbon and cost in a sustained manner. We expect more volatility in energy markets, but the climate crisis will not disappear so undertaking Energy Performance Contracts that guarantee results is an excellent strategy to mitigate risks.”
Monmouthshire County Council declared a climate emergency in 2019. An action plan focussing on energy systems, transport, green spaces, waste and procurement was adopted with the aim of reaching net zero by 2030.
Cllr. Catrin Maby, Monmouthshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment said: “It is vital that we find new ways to decarbonise our existing infrastructures if we are to successfully achieve our climate-saving ambitions. SSE provided a great solution to this challenge by successfully identifying and delivering a number of meaningful actions that have made a significant number of community buildings much more energy efficient. For example, at Chepstow Comprehensive School and Leisure Centre, the LED lighting, high efficiency boilers and CHP, new air handling unit and solar car port combined will save over £100,000 of energy costs and 226 tonnes of carbon every year.”
“In 2019, the council passed a motion declaring a climate emergency, and put a clear policy commitment for the council to work with partners across the county, other councils and organisations like SSE to help develop and implement best practice methods in limiting global warming to less than 1.5 °C.
“We will continue to deliver impactful changes across our council infrastructure and remain committed to meeting our ambitious decarbonisation goals, ensuring our community reaps the environmental and financial benefits for years to come.”
Monmouthshire Council is already considering options to work further with SSE to develop a second phase that will involve additional buildings, a wider scope of decarbonisation measures including the introduction of electric and hydrogen powered refuse vehicles, and the potential for larger infrastructure projects such as EV charging hubs and solar farms.