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Solihull Council - School engagement programme

The pilot Collaborative Low Carbon Schools service in Solihull is on target to save £65,000 per year.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council


Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council's 80 schools spend £3.27million on their energy costs each year and contribute to 72% of carbon emissions from the council's estate. The council has aspirations to reduce their overall carbon usage by 30% and partnered with the Carbon Trust for the pilot Collaborative Low Carbon Schools Service (CLCSS) in 2011/12 to reduce these carbon emissions and energy spend. 

Collaborative Low Carbon Schools Service

This year-long programme enables local authorities and schools to work together to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs.

The Carbon Trust provide the framework, training, workshops and guidance documents to help local authorities engage and train their schools to make practical, quick and easy carbon savings.

The service covers seven key steps to effective school Carbon Management, while offering a flexible approach so that authorities can set and achieve their own goals for carbon reduction. Working initially with a number of pilot schools, the results of this work are extrapolated via Carbon Trust tools to create the figures behind a robust delivery plan, finalised by the participating local authority. The final plan builds a compelling business case for investment as well as a roadmap to achieving these savings.

At the end of the year, local authorities have made significant savings in the schools far beyond the cost of taking part in the programme, they are also armed with the knowledge, tools and framework to deliver these and have analysed the potential to roll the programme out to the entire school stock.

The programme was timely and extremely helpful to Solihull in enabling us to develop a framework of support for our schools. Having a dedicated Carbon Trust advisor on hand to provide that professional input was invaluable to help take the project forwards and in the right direction to achieving our ambitious targets

Cllr Ian Courts, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

School energy bill savings

A total of 13 schools, a mixture of primary and secondary schools, participated in the pilot and are now on track to save an average of 24% on energy bills, the majority of which will come from no cost measures. When rolled out to the entire borough Solihull Council could save as much as 3,812 tonnes CO2 and £648,009 each year.

Engagement and buy-in

Although Solihull already had a schools service in place they found the CLCSS framework to be the perfect tool to drive the project forwards - particularly the early focus on engagement, communication and senior level buy in.

Achieving financial savings early in the process assists participants to gain senior buy-in within their schools which is essential for the success of the programme. These quick-win savings are action approach was also a great incentive for schools participating in the programme and are reinforced by ongoing savings.

Team approach for successful carbon management

Throughout the 10-month programme staff from the Council and schools developed a team approach to their carbon management. The close knit, cross divisional approach has ensured the success of their work and it is a model that is now being embedded in the Council's work with the entire school and corporate estate.

The CLCSS programme materials are aimed at all level of participant and are of great benefit to both the Local Authority and school participants. In Solihull the materials built on the skills and experience of the boroughs already knowledgeable team and ensured all participants were at a similar level of experience.

Download the full Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council case study (PDF)

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