Financing option helps primary school get LED savings

a school interior
West Borough Primary School has 500 pupils aged between 3 and 11 years of age and operates from three buildings of different ages on its site in Maidstone, Kent.

WEST BOROUGH Primary School in Kent has significantly reduced its annual energy consumption following an LED lighting upgrade financed by the Salix SEELS Fund for Maintained Schools. 

The estimated carbon reduction is 18 tonnes of CO2/pa with a lifetime carbon savings 444.01 tonnes, calculated over 20 years.

West Borough Primary School has 500 pupils aged between 3 and 11 years of age and operates from three buildings of different ages on its site in Maidstone, Kent. 

The main building dates from 1913 and Nursery and Infant school buildings were added in the early years of this century.

It was this commitment to the welfare of both pupils and staff that drove Headteacher, Mrs Crittenden, and her team to look at alternatives to their existing lighting. 

Although much of the lighting has been upgraded, this had taken place some years ago and prior to LED being available. Indeed, there was still some strip lighting in the infant school and corridors were particularly poorly lit.  They had noticed also that maintenance costs were creeping up so momentum was gathering to make the change to LED. In 2018, they began to look at how they might achieve this.

The SEELS programme is one of a number of Salix Finance programmes that provide Government funding to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions within the public sector.  The SEELS programme is funded by the Department for Education in England and provides an interest-free loan to schools and colleges that are funded by a local education authority. 

It covers 100 different technologies, including LED lighting, which are focused on energy efficiency upgrades.  The two main criteria for the fund are that the loan must be paid back within an eight-year period and the project must not exceed a maximum cost of £222 per tonne of carbon dioxide saved.

SEELS funding can be accessed at any point in the year and the whole process is designed to make it easy for time-poor Facility Managers to make the business case for investment.

West Borough, with support from Kent Council sought three quotes from potential LED upgrade providers and selected Energys Group on the basis of its competitive quote. 

This solution offered by Energys Group proposed the installation of a standard LED Lighting upgrade across entire school, including outdoor lights and upgrades to LED of all existing emergency lights and standalone units. 

They demonstrated the impact that LED can make by installing it in a couple of classrooms on a trial basis and this convinced the team at West Borough that this was a step well worth taking.

The list of installed lighting types includes: IP Rated LED Batten Fixtures, LED Panels, LED Wall lights, LED Downlight, Outdoor IP65 LED Wall light, Flood lights and Emergency Lighting.

Energys Group advised that this work would be undertaken over a two to three week period. To minimise disruption to teaching schedules the work was undertaken during the 2019 summer holidays and was completed within two weeks.

Mrs Crittenden was delighted with the impact of this project. ‘I couldn’t quite believe the transformation this project made to lighting quality throughout our school. We have the original parquet flooring in the old building and that used to just absorb the light; now it’s bright enough to dance on!’

Raj Gunasekaran, Business Development Manager at Energys Group says; ‘We know that our LED lighting is transformative; good lighting has a such a positive impact on wellbeing and learning outcomes, it reduces eyestrain and improves alertness.  The energy savings of installing LED lighting are hugely significant too, and will continue to benefit the school for many years beyond the initial payback period.’

The project cost £43,000 and is estimated to achieve annual savings in the region of £6.3k, with a return on investment of 6.7 years.