The Royal Alexandra & Albert School, a state boarding school for over 1000 students in Surrey, has been progressing through the ReEnergise risk-reduction process for a low-carbon heat project since January this year. The school is now embarking on a pilot installation of ground source heat pumps into two boarding houses. If that is successful, then the remainder of the estate will be converted. This is a major undertaking: over 20 plantrooms in total equating to 2MW of capacity. It all needs to be done before the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Government subsidy scheme closes for new applications for new installation on 31st March 2021. That’s a challenging timeframe, but doable if carefully managed. The RHI for a programme of this scale is worth £7M over 20 years: that much money is clearly a game-changer in terms of making the programme affordable.

GSHPs can effectively be net-zero carbon. There are no emissions on site from the system. The only emissions occur indirectly, from the grid power being used to run the heat pumps. If a school also opts to buy 100% renewably sourced grid power this means that the total carbon emission count for this system, direct and indirect, is zero.

The programme is being project-managed by ReEnergise. We think this will be the largest GSHP school installation in the South of England, if not in the entire country. (If any reader knows otherwise, please do get in touch). It’s a magnificent undertaking for the school.

We’d like to encourage more schools to take up the Government’s very generous subsidy. At the moment it’s the most cost-effective approach to the all-important transition away from fossil fuels for heating. If you’re reading this and thinking you’re about to miss a golden opportunity, please get in touch. Risk reduction is the key, so it’s not a programme that can be left to the last minute.