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Creating a greener school without spending a penny

The Climate Change Movement

Public demonstration on the street against global warming and pollution.

Climate change is a hot topic in the world’s media. Global marches and strikes are becoming increasingly frequent, lobbying governments to force change by the masses rather than by the few. There’s every reason to support the movement towards greener living, at home, at work, in public spaces and in schools. Carbon dioxide emissions, global warming and the depletion of fossil fuel supplies are all huge matters for concern. We don’t have a back-up planet so let’s do all we can to save this one – every positive action helps, no matter how small.

Environmentally friendly initiatives

Children in classroomIt’s a common misconception that environmentally friendly school initiatives cost more money. Let’s face it, some do. However, there are many initiatives, large and small, you can implement that will not only keep the climate change activists happy, they’ll improve your school environment and they could help your stretched school budget too.

Outgoings

Solar PV panels at Thornhill Primary SchoolConsider your greatest outgoings. After the cost of your invaluable team of teachers and support workers, you’ll likely come up against some weighty energy and maintenance bills. Learning in the dark and cold isn’t an option. However, replacing ageing yellow classroom lighting for brighter, whiter and cheaper LED lighting, or installing solar panels on your roof space, could reduce your energy bills significantly. All state funded nurseries, schools and colleges are eligible to apply for interest free loans. These can be obtained via Salix Finance to fund energy efficiency technologies. For other schools, different funding options are available, including Power Purchase Agreements and DfE approved finance arrangements. These funding schemes are repaid using energy savings so there’s no upfront cost to your school. Meanwhile you gain a better learning environment for your pupils and a long-term cost saving through reduced energy bills.

Physical resources

Pupils studying

Can you can reduce physical resources used in day to day operations, such as going digital instead of issuing letters to parents? Apps such as My School App or School Money enable you to take online permission and payments from parents. The cost of paper, printing and photocopying is likely to outweigh the cost of an app, in addition to the time saving for your office team. Additionally, consider changing school policy so pupils do not have to cover exercise books if this is a rule in your school. Lamination and plastic backing not only costs money (school or parents’), it encourages single use plastic usage.

Changing behaviour

Changing the behaviour of a large body of pupils can be difficult. However it’s not an impossibility for small changes to occur with considered guidance and incentives. Encouraging pupils to walk part way to school, using a free incentive such as house points, will reduce traffic congestion and engine idling. Likewise, issuing new guidelines to parents could reduce single use plastic usage in lunchboxes. Schools trips are another occasion when parents are often requested to send disposable items.

Recycling clothes

Carbon footprint of new clothesHave you got a second-hand uniform shop? So many parents would benefit financially from being able to access cheaper uniform. They’d likely also appreciate losing the wasteful element of binning uniform once their youngest child has worn it. Recycling clothes is an increasingly popular initiative supported by such campaigns as Secondhand September from Oxfam. As a bonus, donations of uniform can be re-sold to raise funds for your school.

Get in touch

For further information on Salix funding or installing energy efficient technologies at your school, get in touch.

We’d also love to hear from you if you have any successfully implemented environmentally friendly school initiatives.