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Swansea schools least energy efficient in all of England and Wales according to new research

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New data has revealed that schools in Swansea are the worst-performing region when it comes to energy efficiency.

Cardiff doesn’t fair much better, coming second worst in England and Wales according to the data from education software specialist, The Access Group.

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This news comes as non-domestic organisations are set to receive a discount on gas and electricity unit prices under the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, and are under pressure to make the cost-savings stretch. 

The figures reveal vast differences in the energy efficiency of schools across England and Wales, based on Energy Performance Certificates (EPC).

Schools in Swansea were ranked first in the bottom 10, with an average EPC score of 78.5, which equates to a grade D. A score of 0-25 typically leads to a grade A score, which is the most efficient grade. 

The Welsh capital also ranked among the least energy-efficient areas with an average EPC rating of 49.9. Some individual schools in Cardiff scored as high as 71, grade C and as low as 14, grade A showing the disparity within the region. 

Top 10 Least Energy Efficient LocationsAverage EPC rating
Swansea78.5
Cardiff49.9
Portsmouth47.9
Newcastle-upon-Tyne46.6
Bradford46.3
Cambridge45.8
Norwich44.3
Northampton44.0
Reading43.6
Plymouth43.0

Schools in Solihull have the highest average rating of 20.2, and is the only area with a grade A score. The average rating for all schools measured in the sample is 38.2, or a grade B. 

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Robert Gould is partner at property consultancy, Barker Associates, and is a specialist in the education sector. He explained how schools can reduce their energy use, “Heating school buildings and providing hot water is both costly and carbon intensive. In the current context of stretched budgets and the climate emergency, there is an imperative to reduce costs and cut carbon emissions.

“The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use. Based on a recent survey, our team discovered that around 60% of the energy consumed at a typical school is when there are no students in the building, so switching off appliances and devices when not in use can have a large effect when done across an organisation.

“In the longer term, Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels, LED lighting and building fabric insulation will have the biggest impact on energy efficiency.”

Jane Gibson, Product Manager (Education) at The Access Group at The Access Group added, “These figures are based on averages, but it’s always good to be aware of a building’s energy performance and how that might affect a building’s environmental impact, and utilities bills. 

“For schools, there are other methods of reporting such as Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting and Display Energy Certificates that can also help organisations to get a full understanding of what their usage really is.

“The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will offer some help with costs, as well as the latest Autumn Statement announcements, but there’s no denying that school leaders will still be left with some difficult decisions to make this winter. And to improve things in the longer term, there will be substantial infrastructure investments to make, alongside other essential costs.

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“Even as resources are stretched, using budget planning software for schools could help to keep track of costs and forecast scenarios based on predicted peaks and troughs, such as payments from the Energy Relief Scheme, rather than vague estimations. This way leaders can plan for the future with a level of transparency that will prove crucial for schools this winter and beyond.”

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