£26.9m investment in carbon savings for County Council buildings and local schools

Investments of over £26 million of Government climate change funding to improve the energy efficiency of local schools and Hampshire County Council-maintained corporate buildings have received the green light from the County Council’s Executive Member for Commercial Strategy, Human Resources and Performance, Councillor Stephen Reid, at his Decision Day last week.

At the meeting on 19 January 2021, Councillor Reid approved two decarbonisation programmes for eligible local schools and County Council corporate buildings: a £6.7 million programme for the installation of solar panels (solar photo voltaics (PV)), and a £20.2 million window replacement programme to improve buildings’ insulation levels by replacing inefficient single glazed windows and doors with modern, double glazed units. Across the two programmes, in total around 370 Hampshire schools and several County Council corporate buildings are expected to benefit. The programmes are being funded through central Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which offers 100% funded grants for public sector organisations to fund energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects across their estates.

Councillor Reid said:

The County Council declared a climate emergency in June 2019 and is committed to mitigating against and building resilience to climate change; bringing carbon emissions in Hampshire down to net zero by 2050. By tapping into the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which is part of the Chancellor’s ‘Plan for Jobs 2020’ commitment, we can continue to improve energy efficiency and reduce the County Council’s carbon emissions with the added benefit of receiving full funding from Government. Together these programmes are expected to save more than 3,600 tonnes of carbon per year and support local schools and the County Council to save on energy bills.

The specific County Council-maintained schools that are expected to benefit from the solar PV and window replacement programmes have been identified and are a mix of primary, secondary, and SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) schools. These schools and certain County Council corporate buildings have been selected for the programmes based on the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme’s project eligibility criteria, which include the cost to save a tonne of carbon over the lifetime of the project being no more than £500.

Councillor Jan Warwick, Hampshire County Council’s Climate Change Advisor to the Executive, said:

The County Council is making significant progress in putting in place policies, plans and measures which demonstrate how we can embed climate change considerations in everything we do. The solar PV and window replacement programmes are examples of this important work. They will also play a part in helping the county to recover from the economic impacts of Covid-19 and provide a boost to skilled jobs in the low carbon and energy efficiency sectors.

The work is expected to commence in the spring, subject to further individual feasibility checks, and be completed in the autumn of 2021.

Further details are available in the full Decision Day report titled ‘2021/22 to 2023/24 Capital Programme Report for CCBS’.

Find out more about how Hampshire County Council is responding to climate change at www.hants.gov.uk/landplanningandenvironment/environment/climatechange

The solar PV and window replacement programmes are part of the Capital Programme (2021/22 to 2023/24) that will be put forward to Cabinet for consideration on 9 February as part of the Authority’s capital budget programme, and then on to the Full County Council for final approval as part of the overall budget, which will be determined on 25 February.

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