Part 6 – The easy wins for Senior Leaders that follow from taking a long-term Strategic Net-Zero Approach

What are the Practical Steps Schools & Academy Trusts can take to reduce Carbon emissions and move towards a NetZero future?

This is the last part in a series of blogs, where we have aimed to offer answers and insight into the Practical Steps Schools & Academy Trusts can take to reduce Carbon emissions and move towards a NetZero future. We have done this by examining a different aspect of NetZero/de-carbonisation each week and in this blog, we finish by looking at the benefits and easy wins that should naturally follow from taking a long-term strategic approach.

In the last two blogs in particular we have discussed that setting a path to Net Zero is both complex and long term in its nature and as such organisational success is best achieved through adopting a correspondingly long-term strategic approach and securing the services of a specialist Energy Services Partner (ESP). So what are the benefits of this approach?

  1. Let the specialist take the strain – one of the benefits of partnering with a specialist ESP is that they not only bring expertise and capability to the partnership but they also bring capacity which is sorely needed in most Schools, Academies and Trusts. This extra capacity can then be put to good use, by commissioning a comprehensive estate wide survey and data gathering exercise to provide the detailed information required for developing your strategic Net Zero plan. A specialist ESP will be able to complete this task in a matter of weeks without tying up your valuable resources, to deliver the first easy win – making a start without overloading your estates and SLT teams.
  2. A credible plan with credible Net Zero targets – armed with the survey data your ESP can then help you develop a credible multi-phase, multi-year decarbonisation plan that will provide confidence in setting realistic and achievable short, medium and long term NetZero targets i.e 2025, 2035 & 2050. Having such a credible plan and targets will have many benefits, but for a senior leader, in particular, the biggest win will be the ability to communicate with confidence to all stakeholders, the seriousness of the organisational commitment to Net Zero and in turn, start the process of getting that all important buy-in.
  3. A baseline to measure progress against – a good plan based on good data, will also provide the baseline against which progress can be measured, reported on and continuous improvements achieved. Progress will most likely be measured in savings, savings of CO2e and savings in £, but calculating these accurately is not easy and this is where your specialist ESP should be able to help once more. A good ESP will follow the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP) to ensure accurate reporting – having accurate and verifiable savings data will not only make your statutory reporting a lot easier e.g. SECR but it will also help to give confidence to all stakeholders that your plan is delivering and it will be key to informing your ongoing investment planning and budgeting.
  4. Securing grant funding and finance – having a long-term plan with credible and measurable savings targets in place will enable your organisation to bid for and secure more of the Public Sector Decarbonisation (PSDS) funding as it is made available. Having a plan in place with the supporting savings data is important to secure funding as each funding round has a set of savings CO2e and £ criteria that need to be met, however having a plan in place that can enable you to make grant funding applications quickly and get to the head of the queue is perhaps even more important. The last two rounds of PSDS have been oversubscribed many times over and all funding for PSDS2 in April this year was awarded within 72 hours! Where private finance is required then meeting the due diligence criteria required by lenders can only be done with the support of a detailed plan and specialist support.
  5. The Whole is greater than the sum of the parts – in the most recent PSDS funding guidance applicants are encouraged to take a “whole building” approach to decarbonising their heating i.e. asking applicants to consider all factors that contribute to a building’s energy consumption together to identify the most effective way of making savings. In essence, you need to take a holistic approach to maximise savings and to building an investment or savings plan where quick wins (e.g. LED Lighting), fund medium wins (e.g. Solar PV) and the savings generated by both short and medium-term measures are re-invested to help fund the long term projects and the ultimate goal of Net-Zero. A good example of this is where you can combine Solar PV with battery technology, for example, to significantly reduce your electricity costs and that in turn makes new electric based technologies viable where on their own they might not be.

enFrame understood from an early stage the importance of having a strategic approach to energy efficiency and Net-Zero planning and so with the help and vision of Aspirations Academy Trust, we put in place an OJEU ‘Energy Services Partnering’ procurement framework OJEU Ref No 338164-2020 (2020/s 137-338164), specifically targeted at Schools, Academies and Academy Trusts. So this is the last or perhaps the first easy win for any School or Trust Senior Leader as it provides an oven-ready, easy and quick way of securing specialist support whilst also ticking all the public procurement boxes along the way.

For more information on how we can help or any of our partners and frameworks then please visit the link here or get in contact with us today.