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Removal of schools from CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme ‘a step backwards’

IA final attempt to simplify the much-criticised Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), was announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement towards the end of 2012. Amongst a variety of reforms is the withdrawal of all state-funded schools in England from the Scheme. Jurjen de Greeve, Direct Sales Manager at IMServ Europe, the UK’s largest independent energy management provider, believes this is a step backward and risks undoing the progress that has been made so far as a result of the Carbon Reduction Commitment.

Applicable to all organisations using more than 6,000MWh per year of
electricity, the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (formerly known as the Carbon
Reduction Commitment) is a mandatory carbon emissions scheme. Introduced in
April 2010, the Scheme targets emissions from large public and private
sector organisations, with the aim of driving emissions reductions and
incentivising the uptake of energy efficiencies.

Along with the withdrawal of state-funded schools in England, other changes
to the Scheme include:

• Reducing the number of fuels that participants have to report against from
29 to 2, these are electricity and gas for heating.
• Reducing the Scheme complexity by removing the 90% rule and Climate Change
Agreements (CCA) exemption rule.
• Abolishing the Performance League Table but continuing to publish
participants aggregated energy use and emission data.

Jurjen believes the removal of state-funded schools from the Scheme risks
sending the wrong message, reversing the progress that has been made so far
following the Carbon Reduction Commitment. According to IMServ, whilst
individual schools’ energy consumption may be relatively low, it can
constitute up to a third of a local authority’s total consumption.

Energy prices have risen by approximately 58% since 2010 and this trend is
set to continue. Energy usage is a significant cost for all educational
facilities. Any effort made to reduce these bills through effective energy
management could free up a significant proportion of educational spending,
while helping to combat climate change.

Jurjen argues that many schools can make substantial energy savings but lack
the funding to develop skills and knowledge to fully understand how, when,
and where energy is being used. IMServ is running a free educational webinar
on 5th March in which tips to help with the challenges of reducing energy
consumption and managing cost will be shared.

Jurjen explains, “Schools rarely, if ever, have staff with the experience or
expertise to fully understand energy management. As a result, decisions (no
matter how well-intentioned) can fail to address the real sources of energy
wastage, and can in some cases even cause consumption to increase. The
Government has made a kneejerk decision that it would be easier to remove
schools from the Scheme rather than investing in materials and training to
ensure they have a fighting chance of meeting the objectives.”

Many local authorities already have designated energy managers who support
schools and who should be encouraged to share skills and information more –
not less. There is a vast array of energy management and saving information
available to any school, along with an array of energy focussed initiatives
which the Government should be readily promoting.

Savings can be made via a variety of means including simple measures to
ensure that all electrical devices are used efficiently and investments are
made to upgrade buildings, which could include new heating systems or
renewables. Web based software and training from a meter and data specialist
is also a great way to get effective energy management started in schools.

Jurjen continued, “Schools should not just be looking at introducing
appropriate strategies to engage with the whole school community, but also
the implementation of suitable energy controlling technologies.” Ultimately
if a school looks at its own energy profiles in data form, the peaks and
troughs by day and night time will answer the questions “when and what” and
will highlight the two key questions of “where and why?”

The benefits of including schools within the Scheme far outway the negatives
according to Jurjen. “It’s about making a commitment for the future and
having a long term strategic view. To my mind there is no sense in schools
not taking responsibility for their energy and emissions impacts. The
ability to use the process to engage with future generations on energy
emissions and global impacts should not be lost in schools.”

IMServ work closely with many educational facilities to help meet the
challenges of reducing energy consumption and managing cost, IMServ provide:
• Detailed metering
• Clear analysis and presentation of energy usage
• Appropriate technological controls
• Whole school community engagement
• Integrating energy / sustainability with the curriculum

To learn more about how IMServ have helped others in this area, sign up to
their Education Webinar on the 5th March here.

 

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