Climate change is an ugly problem with devastating consequences. But it is a problem based fundamentally on our use of energy and it is a problem that can be solved. Indeed climate change offers us exciting opportunities to create a better, cleaner, more sustainable model of energy practice. But it needs all of us to find the solutions; to find them in our workplace, in our schools, homes, and communities. And we must start now.
But how? Ashley School has set up committed and passionate energy teams who challenge the status quo and identify where and how we can become more energy efficient. These teams measure and analyse the school’s energy use, and set tough targets that engage our communities in energy saving. We know from experience that these energy reduction initiatives need to be supported through grant funding programmes – which ideally should be sourced by a carbon tax – so that site-specific renewable energy technologies can be installed.
Most importantly, we recognise and reward our successes. In our school we are proud to have reduced our electricity consumption by nearly 80% in two years and our heating consumption by close to 30%. With creativity and commitment it can be done and we whole-heartedly encourage others to do the same – we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Ashley CofE Primary School, Walton on Thames in Surrey was joint winner of the Ashden Award Winner UK Schools 2009. The school takes a pioneering approach to energy saving by setting targets to reduce energy consumption both inside the school and at home.