The Suffolk Carbon Leaders team have been working closely with a number of Suffolk secondary schools to help them improve their sustainability performance – and also help them shout about it. Schools present a great opportunity to make a significant and long lasting impact. More so than with many businesses, when it comes to schools the focus is not just on minimising the negative environmental impacts such as carbon emissions and waste, but is also about maximising the opportunities for positive environmental impacts.
Many local schools are struggling with large energy bills as a result of old buildings and inefficient heating and lighting systems and Suffolk Carbon Leaders have so far identified over £170,000 worth of savings that could be made through energy efficiency improvements; this amounts to over 700 tonnes of carbon.
With hundreds or in some cases thousands of young people walking through their doors daily the potential to use sustainability initiatives to educate and inspire is huge. It’s not just about making savings behind the scenes but about getting the students involved. Initiatives such as switching off lights and recycling will only be successful if everyone takes part, so alongside more technical advice the Suffolk Carbon Leaders team will also be supporting schools in communicating with their students and getting them engaged with their school’s carbon footprint.
Educating students about sustainability is not only good for the school – which reduces its bills and its footprint, and good for the students – who expand their knowledge, but it is also positive for the universities and businesses that these students will go on to in the future as they take their environmental awareness with them. Schools represent a really exciting project for the Suffolk Carbon Leaders Team and we are looking forward to growing and developing a really strong and innovative green schools network in Suffolk.