Mayor launches new ‘makeover fund’ to transform energy use at schools

05 June 2013

Schools across London could save £32m and cut carbon emissions by more than 125,000 tonnes over the next ten years under a new programme announced by the Mayor, Boris Johnson.

The RE:FIT Schools Energy Efficiency Programme, part of the Mayor’s award-winning retrofitting programme RE:FIT, will offer schools the opportunity to see where energy savings could be made, free technical support to make these changes and access to an interest free loan to cover the costs of installing any necessary energy saving equipment, such as improved insulation, low energy lighting systems and new, efficient boilers.

It is estimated that nearly 80 per cent of the capital's carbon emissions come from buildings, including schools.

Refitting older buildings to improve their energy efficiency is a key part of the Mayor’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions in the capital by 60 per cent by 2025.

The schools RE: FIT programme is anticipated to run over three years and help up to 200 schools and academies become more energy efficient, creating over 175 jobs and many more apprenticeship opportunities in the capital’s burgeoning energy efficiency sector.

The Mayor Boris Johnson said: “Making London schools more energy efficient not only saves money and protects the environment it also boosts the economy and creates jobs – an A*-grade idea in anyone’s book. This programme is the perfect opportunity for schools to transform their energy use and help make London the greenest big city in the world.”

Schools taking part in the programme will be able to use a pre-selected contractor to carry out the work, helping them to cut costs and the amount of red tape normally associated with this type of building work. In turn, the contractor will offer schools a guaranteed energy saving upfront, enabling them to predict fuel bill savings which they can then use to repay their loans and continue to make energy and financial savings long after the initial costs have been met.

The RE: FIT programme has already been implemented by some schools in London with great results. Pinner Wood school in Pinner, who took part in the Mayor’s RE: FIT scheme run by Harrow council, had new boilers fitted, the lighting upgraded and had a new temperature control system installed.

Deb Spruce, Pinner Wood school’s head teacher said: “The whole project ran very smoothly and was very well organised. Since we have made the upgrades our school’s energy use has dropped significantly, meaning we will save money which can be diverted to other things for the school. We also don’t have any cold spots around the school like we used to. It has been a really positive experience and I would really recommend it to others.”

The roll out of the Mayor’s RE:FIT Schools Energy Efficiency Programme is supported by the Department for Education (DfE), Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Salix Finance, who provide interest free loans to public sector organisation under taking energy efficiency work.

Schools Minister David Laws said: “The RE:FIT programme is an excellent way for London schools to be greener and save money by being more energy efficient. It means they can allocate more of their funding to the frontline – on excellent teachers and resources to raise standards for young people.”

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “The Mayor of London’s new energy efficiency scheme will make a real difference to schools right across the capital, offering advice on reducing energy use, support with the upfront costs of making improvements and ultimately helping save money on energy bills. Transforming the energy efficiency of the UK’s homes and buildings is a priority for the Coalition. Thanks to action from the Mayor, London’s schools will be able to step up to the challenge.”

Annie Shepperd, Chief Executive Sailx said “Salix Finance is proud to be funding the first year of this exciting programme and we know that the schools and academies will be energy efficient champions for the future.”

Schools and academies interested in taking part in the RE:FIT Schools Energy Efficiency Programme should complete an online form at www.refit.org.uk or email refit@london.gov.uk 

Ends 

Notes to editors

• The RE:FIT Schools Energy Efficiency Programme will run for three years (2013-2016) with the Department for Education providing financial support through Salix Finance to help schools to access their interest free loans. Salix Finance, a not-for-profit company grant funded by DECC, are making up to £3m in interest fee loans available in the first year of the programme to London schools, including Academies, for up to 100 per cent of the project value.

• It builds on the success of a pilot programme run in partnership with the Olympic Delivery Authority which saw 10 primary and two secondary schools in East London retrofitted in this way. These schools saw, on average, a 35 per cent drop in energy costs per annum giving them a project payback of just four years.

• Through the Mayor’s RE:FIT programme the GLA has already -Worked with 18 schools -14 schools are currently waiting to have measures installed -We have engaged 6 schools who will be working on a new schools pilot with an appointed contractor -We are currently in discussion with an additional 18 schools who are keen to engage with the RE:FIT programme.

• The Mayor of London has set a target to reduce London’s CO2 emissions by 60% of 1990 levels by 2025. In October 2011, the GLA published the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy. This details the Mayor’s strategic approach to meeting his CO2 target and securing a low carbon energy supply for London. The Strategy recognised that nearly 80% of CO2 emissions produced in London are from buildings. As such, retrofitting schemes to reduce CO2 emissions are a central focus of the strategy.

• RE:FIT has been awarded 'Best use of innovative funding' at the Building Better Healthcare awards, the International Green Apple Award for environmental best practice, ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award 2011, Best Technical Project Government Business Awards 2011 – Sustainability Award, Commended at the GO Awards for Excellence in Public Procurement 2010/11, Highly commended for GO Sustainability Initiative of the Year. For more information please visit www.refit.org.uk 

• A competitive mini- tender was carried out with the 13 RE:FIT Framework Service Providers (or ESCos) to appoint a single supplier for the Schools RE:FIT Programme. Using the RE:FIT Framework to deliver energy reduction projects, rather than approaching a Framework Energy Service Company directly, has a number of key advantages for schools.

These include:

1. The RE:FIT Schools Programme has been procured by the GLA and is compliant with public sector procurement rules. Saving schools time and resources in procurement.

2. Using RE:FIT, protects schools by the Framework Agreement contract clauses, Terms & Conditions and other legal obligations on the ESCOs.

3. There is a Programme Delivery Unit (PDU) to advise and support all London RE:FIT users, all the way through their projects and at no cost. • The PDU also manages the Framework of ESCOs and can assist with any issues and questions. The PDU also can advise on best practice approaches, help each organisation to get the most out of their RE:FIT projects, advise each client through the flexible RE:FIT process and with its set of standard templates