Wherever possible and practical, the College is looking to make more sustainable and energy efficient choices across all its operations and to consider our wider environmental impact.
As a large and busy full boarding school, the choices we make for heating, lighting, transport and cooking can make a significant difference. The College already sources its electricity from 100% renewable contracts (wind, solar or hydro), has installed over 4,000 LED lights and is converting all our old boilers to new energy efficient condensing boilers.
New buildings are routinely now fitted with photovoltaic (PV) panels to help power our campus and single-use plastic spoons and single-use disposable cups have been removed from Norwood Hall.
The next phase is the roll-out of 100% electric vehicles for our fleet. This term, the Estates Department have taken ownership of 13 zero emissions vans and next will be the larger vans and the minibus fleet. We have also installed three electric car charging points in the Water Meadows car park for use by staff and visitors and are moving to electric mowers and strimmers which have the additional benefit of being quieter for lessons.
One of our most energy demanding facilities is the swimming pool. This year will see the swimming pool roof covered with solar panels which will create approximately 130 kwh of power which will be used to support the heating of the swimming pool. Additionally, a new swimming pool cover inside the pool will greatly help with heat loss, again reducing energy usage and saving costs.
As well as working on our energy usage, an action plan is being created to increase the biodiversity of our beautiful outdoor habitats and to improve the outcomes for nature. The increasing number of wildflower beds around the campus is not only a pleasing sight but they have also been designed to support a diverse insect population. The two College lakes will be dredged this year to clear the build-up of silt which will greatly improve the water quality, and new reed beds will be planted to enhance the appearance of the lakes and encourage wildlife. We want to do more and go further, so we have engaged with landscaping and biodiversity specialists who are helping us to create a management plan for the campus that will look forward to achieving improvements over the next five to ten years.
In reducing our environmental impact, so much is about an awareness of our own actions. In the construction of our Beko Innovation Centre, an energy monitoring system was installed in the building that shows pupils the use of energy generated by the PV panels and breaks down the consumption of power in the building. In the future, similar systems could be introduced to all of our boarding houses with the aim of supporting and challenging pupils to become the most sustainable house.