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Utilise Plus Event Report: Sustainability Tour of King’s Academy Ringmer

We went back to school on a sunny morning in May to learn all about King’s Academy’s sustainability measures on a behind-the-scenes Sustainability Tour. This event was held as part of the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC’s ongoing Utilise Plus programme, which helps small and medium sized enterprises to reduce their costs by saving energy.

The SBP CIC’s Jack Dale welcomed delegates and introduced the event by outlining the services available through Utilise Plus. With only 4 months left until the end of the project, Jack encouraged delegates to make the most of this funding while it lasts by booking fully-funded energy audits and attending the variety of learning and networking events held each month.

Jack then handed over to Steve Green, Eco-Coordinator at King’s Academy Ringmer. Steve believes that all children should leave school with the understanding and skills to navigate environmental issues, whether it’s climate change, fuel poverty, or air pollution. At King’s Academy, all students get a tour of the school’s various sustainability measures within 2 weeks of joining and then have the opportunity to apply to become an ‘Eco Rep.’ Eco Reps meet regularly with Steve to review the school’s sustainability progress and discuss where further improvements could be made. Ultimately, Steve teaches the students – and teachers! – to take pride in their environment, whether it’s picking up litter, turning off computers, or switching off lights, all of which are cemented in their ‘Eco Code.’

After Steve’s talk, he led the behind-the-scenes tour of King’s Academy. First up was their biomass boiler, which uses chips sourced locally and provided by a pupil’s parent. They decided to use chips as they are cheaper than pellets and take up less room. Next, we saw their wind turbine. Steve explained that it was difficult to gain support from local residents for the turbine but thanks to their students engaging with them and explaining why they wanted it, they soon won them over! Next up we took a look at their ground source heat pump, the pipes for which span 70 metres beneath their playing field. Last but not least, Steve showed us their impressive array of solar panels which garnered national news coverage when they were implemented over a decade ago. The solar panels were paid for via the Sunny Solar Schools project and were installed by SAS Energy in partnership with OVESCO. In the canteen, screens display the energy produced from these various measures and the amount of carbon saved, which students can also access on the school’s computers.

After the tour the event ended with refreshments and networking. Delegates gave positive feedback on the event, with Matthew Knight of Akro Valve calling it “well organised,” while Ray Glew of R.G. Associates praised Steve’s “enthusiasm” and Rob Sandercock of Dorothy Stringer School called it “an inspiring look into what all schools could be doing to tackle climate change.”

This event was fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). At the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC, we always want to hear about exciting venues, passionate speakers, and enthusiastic event partners. If you’d like to work with us, please get in touch.

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