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2013 Ashden School Award winners

Members of Green Gang, with suntubes in the background

South Farnborough Infant School

From LESS CO2 learner to Ashden finalist

South Farnborough Infant School in Hampshire has discovered it’s never too early to start getting children involved in saving the planet, with children as young as five embracing the energy-saving challenge.

After participating in Ashden’s LESS CO2 energy-saving mentoring programme in 2010, energy coordinator Ann-Marie Hopkins galvanised staff and pupils to join her on her carbon-cutting mission. Through a range of energy efficiency measures and changing behaviour, the school has made significant cuts in electricity and gas use over the past two years, helping it keep a lid on fuel costs.

Every year, pupils and staff take energy monitors home with them in a two-week challenge to reduce electricity use. One family managed to cut electricity consumption by a staggering 44% as a result.

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Renewable energy wall at Hollybush School

Hollybush Primary School, Derry

Can-do attitude reaps multiple benefits

Dogged determination and fantastic team work helped Hollybush Primary School in Derry, Northern Ireland rapidly improve its energy performance, going from Band F to Band B on the DEC energy performance rating scheme in two years.

Technological investments include in a biomass heating system using locally sourced wood pellets have been complemented by regular monitoring of the school’s energy performance. But most important has been engagement of staff and pupils across the board. This has been achieved by making gradual changes, with very simple energy saving measures like installing low-energy lighting, switching off lights when not needed and steadily lowering thermostats in classrooms.

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Runners-up

Polly Wise with the schools Eco reps

Thomas A Becket Middle School, Worthing

Strong pupil engagement helps cut energy bills

Built in the 1950s as a boys’ school, Thomas A Becket Middle School in Worthing has worked hard to substantially reduce its energy consumption and get energy smart. Steps like carefully selecting low-energy products including fluorescent flood lights and automated meter reading of gas and electrical supplies have all helped bring energy consumption under control.

Engaging students through the school’s eco committee and a series of high-profile energy challenges has also helped the school achieve substantial savings on gas and electricity bills over the past five years.

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Data panel in Eco Centre plant room

Cockermouth School, West Cumbria

Eco centre provides sustainable design exemplar

One of the challenges in raising awareness of the benefits of renewable energy is that many people can’t see what it looks like, and how it works in practice. In 2007, Cockermouth School in West Cumbria opened up a unique state-of-the art eco centre, designed for use by pupils, staff and the wider community. And as the second largest employer in the area, the eco centre school is also helping boost the local economy as well as beautifully showcasing sustainable design

Cockermouth is also engaging over 1,400 pupils and 200 staff in the energy saving challenge and starting to invest in energy-saving measures and renewable energy.

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