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New £1.3m fund to help cut energy emissions

Bridgend, South Wales UK

Work is due to start next week on a £1.3m programme aimed at helping schools and other public sector buildings in the county borough become energy efficient and more economical to run.

Up to 15 schools are included within the Re:fit scheme in addition to three buildings run by Bridgend County Borough Council – Bridgend Bus Station, the Bryn Y Cae care home in Brackla and the Trem Y Mor council offices in Bettws.

The energy saving measures are set to include solar PV systems, LED lighting and boiler management systems to improve heating system efficiency.

In line with the ambitious Welsh public sector commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2030, we are leading the way in our response to the challenges of climate change and achieving a position of net zero carbon as a public body.

The council aims to make Bridgend a decarbonised, digitally connected, smart county borough with a series of projects in the pipeline which form the ‘Bridgend 2030’ decarbonisation strategy – these include the Bridgend Town Heat Network, the Caerau Heat Scheme, and the Welsh Government Domestic Energy Efficiency Programme. As part of this particular scheme, the aim is to support schools to reduce energy costs and emissions, as well as optimise the energy performance of the council’s buildings.

While the coronavirus pandemic caused some delays to the plans, our contractor has been able to carry out building surveys over the last few months to identify energy saving measures and work is now due to begin next week. As well as consuming less energy, which will lead to a significant reduction in annual energy and maintenance costs, these upgrades will also result in a more comfortable learning and working environment for pupils and staff. The buildings chosen are among those where energy-efficiency changes can make the most difference. The first phase of the scheme is due to take around seven months to complete. The second phase will then look to include more buildings.

The council’s Cabinet Member for Communities Stuart Baldwin

The first schools to undergo the energy saving measures include Pil Primary School, Llangynwyd Primary School, Porthcawl Primary School and Brackla Primary School.

Other schools included in the scheme are: Bryntirion Comprehensive School; Caerau Primary School; Cefn Cribwr Primary School;; Ogmore Vale Primary School; Pencoed Comprehensive School; Pen y bont Primary School;; Plasnewydd Primary School; St Mary’s & St Patrick’s Primary School; St Robert’s Primary School, Tondu Primary School and West Park Primary School.

The Re:fit programme – a procurement initiative for public bodies wishing to implement energy efficiency measures – is being financed by a Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme which is funded by the Welsh Government.

It involves the provision of interest-free government funding to the public sector to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills.

The loan is then paid back using the savings produced through reduced energy bills. Once the loan is fully repaid, all future savings will then be used to benefit individual schools directly.