School business managers and leadership teams are highly focused on energy costs right now. And with good reason – as a glance at a few statistics reveals.
For a medium sized business (a reasonable equivalent of a secondary school), electricity costs have increased by around 69% between 2011 and 2021. Although gas prices are expected to decrease gradually from their current heights, they’re likely to stabilise beyond 2024/5 at a level around six times higher per therm than in 2020/21.
This is a massive additional strain on school budgets at a time when so many other costs are rising.
Energy Saving Measures
None of this is news to anyone trying to run a school budget. Energy-saving measures are high on the agenda. Some changes that seemed to have too long a payback period in the past are suddenly back on the agenda.
Measures under consideration include universal LED lighting, proximity detectors, and daylight sensors that automatically modulate the lighting system output to suit ambient lighting levels rather than always running at 100%.
Building fabric and construction are also under the microscope with some schools implementing planned retrofit programmes to improve insulation levels. Depending on the construction method, this could be cavity and roof insulation or external cladding panels .
For some buildings the most economical option will be to demolish and rebuild using a building system designed to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. As with new-build school construction projects, MMC – preferably using a building system with a high structural timber content – is the preferred route.
Innovaré’s panelised offsite solution has the further advantage that the building size and shape can be configured to make the best possible use of space. So, if there’s an energy-sapping building that can’t be redeemed, you don’t have to be constrained by the standard dimensions of volumetric offsite modules. This is a case where you really can build back better.
Anyone commissioning a new school, extension or partial rebuild needs to carefully consider the building system that offers the best guarantees over future energy costs and carbon emissions. Innovaré will be happy to share the real-world energy performance we’ve achieved over dozens of school building projects.