Gateshead school set to save thousands by implementing green energy projects

A secondary special school in Gateshead is set to save tens of thousands of pounds and significantly reduce its carbon emissions after investing over £77,900 in multiple energy reduction projects, using Salix Finance’s interest-free government funding.

Dryden School provides secondary education to students with special education needs. As Dryden is a high energy user they wanted to reduce their energy consumption and energy bills without affecting the school’s operational use. The school implemented numerous energy efficient measures via the Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (SEELS), significantly reducing their carbon footprint while ensuring a comfortable and safe environment for the pupils.

The school has invested in a range of new technologies over the last year, including LED lighting upgrades, pipework insulation, Building Energy Management System (BEMS) improvements and draught proofing, as well as new and reconfigured air handling units and controls.

The new technologies are estimated to reduce the school’s energy bills by around £17,800 per year, as well as reduce its carbon emissions and greatly improve the general learning environment for both pupils and staff.

The energy improvements were made possible thanks to £77,965 worth of funding from Salix Finance, an independent, government-funded organisation which provides 100% interest-free loans for the public sector to increase its energy efficiency.

The projects have helped the school reduce its energy consumption by approximately 40%, resulting in an estimated £17,800 of savings to their annual energy costs – the equivalent to more than £342 per pupil.

Across the school’s estate, fluorescent and halogen lamps have been replaced with high efficiency LED lighting, while improved discreet heating controls and a new BEMS system have also been implemented to improve overall efficiency.

Thermal improvements, including pipework insulation and draught proofing, as well as the installation of variable Speed Drives (VSDs) for motors and pumps will further increase the school’s energy efficiency. As well as reduced energy bills, the upgrades will also lessen general maintenance costs.

In total, the improvements are expected to save the school an estimated £241,800 in lifetime savings.

 Dryden School worked closely with Gateshead Council and Salix to secure the required loan and implement the energy efficiency measures.

Christine Hewitson, School Business Manager, Dryden School said: “Working with Salix and the council has provided Dryden School with the perfect opportunity to effectively improve its energy efficiency. The Salix solution has enabled us to make much needed improvements across the entire school site, which will go a long way to reducing our energy consumption. Figures so far suggest that the school is on track to achieve an estimated 40% savings, which goes to show how worthwhile these projects have been.”

“Staff and students alike have commented on how much brighter the lighting now is, and we have noticed significantly less heating issues with our hydrotherapy pool, which allows the students and outside agencies to access the pool more often.”

“Both Salix and the local authority have been excellent in terms of providing advice and giving general support.”

Derek Luke, Senior Mechanical Engineer at Gateshead Council added: “Energy use at the school has been significantly reduced thanks to the energy efficiency projects and the improvements to the comfort of the school are apparent throughout.”

The project has a payback period of 4.4 years, and this is being repaid over 5 years with their predicted energy savings.  This means the project is of no extra expense to the school, and once the loan is repaid the school will directly benefit from these significant savings for the lifetime of the technology.

For more information on the funding available from Salix, please see:

 *Calculated using emissions factors published by government for carbon footprinting.


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