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Schools: Energy

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what plans his Department has to increase the energy efficiency of the schools estate, with particular reference to schools constructed under the Building Schools for the Future programme; and if he will make a statement; (252588)

(2) how many biomass boilers (a) have been and (b) are planned to be installed in new schools following calculation of such schools' carbon dioxide emissions using the Government's carbon calculator.

In December 2007 we announced an ambition for all new school buildings, including all new schools within Building Schools for the Future, to be zero carbon by 2016. A task force has been appointed to advise on how to achieve this ambition. The task force will develop a strategy for moving the school system to zero carbon, setting targets and milestones to 2016. It will also scope the potential to reduce carbon emissions during school refurbishment projects.

It is already a requirement that newly constructed schools must meet a carbon emissions reduction of 60 per cent. relative to the energy efficiency standards in 2002 building regulations. My Department has provided additional funding for more than 200 schools in Building Schools for the Future and the academies programme to fund the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures on school sites to enable this requirement to be met.

The carbon calculator was developed to allow users to compare the likely effectiveness of various energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions, and to demonstrate how they would achieve the 60 per cent. reduction. We have received completed carbon calculators for 53 school projects which are currently in design. Of these designs, 46 propose to include biomass boilers, two propose to include biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant, and one proposes a combination of biomass and ground source heat pump. There may be more schools with plans to include biomass boilers; we do not impose a requirement on schools that they report such plans to us.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his assessment is of levels of energy efficiency in school buildings constructed under the Building Schools for the Future programme; and what measures he has put in place to evaluate the energy efficiency of new school buildings proposed under the programme. (253141)

The Department requires that newly constructed schools, including those within Building Schools for the Future, meet a carbon emissions reduction of 60 per cent. relative to the energy efficiency standards in 2002 building regulations. Additional funding has been provided for more than 200 schools in Building Schools for the Future and the Academies programme to fund the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures on school sites to enable this requirement to be met. We have developed a ‘carbon calculator’—a software tool—which allows users to compare the likely effectiveness of various energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions, and to demonstrate how they would achieve the 60 per cent. reduction. We have received completed carbon calculators for 53 school projects which are currently in design1.

Partnerships for Schools monitors the compliance of the carbon ratings of school designs with Government targets and in PFI schools ensures that the payment mechanism during the contract period (normally 25 years) reflects the DCSF policy on energy use. A low carbon rating may be due to energy efficient design or the employment of low and zero carbon fuels, including renewables.

1 www.teachernet.gov.uk/carbontargets