Exemplar scheme for energy efficiency

Our work with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council on a pilot scheme to demonstrate how an existing school could become as energy efficient as a new build, has helped the authority to meet UK and EU carbon reduction targets. 

Having secured funding made available for a number of pilot ‘low or zero’ carbon capital investment school projects by the Department for Education, the council identified Dearne Carrfield Primary School, built in the 1950’s, poorly insulated and heated by a coal fired boiler, as a suitable school to develop as an ‘exemplar’ scheme.

With our specialist knowledge in understanding energy use in school buildings, we identified a number of building interventions which have helped the school to reduce its carbon emissions by 68% and become a model for the council to use throughout its remaining schools.   

Since completion of the project, the school’s Display Energy Certificate rating has also risen from a ‘G’ to a ‘C.’

The improvements, which were carried out in a phased process over three years to minimise disruption to the school, included:
• Installation of a biomass boiler system
• School re-roofed with improved insulation
• Installation of Solar PV panels to reroofed areas
• Kitchen ventilation replaced with a Heat Recovery Unit
• Installation of ‘A’ rated triple glazed windows in the hall and new PVC windows for classrooms
• Radiators replaced with radiant panels, individual rooms placed under thermostatic control, low energy lighting and mineral wool insulation installed above suspended ceilings.


Energy monitoring systems have also been incorporated into the school to engage pupils, staff and parents with the project. The school is now embracing new energy efficiency initiatives and incorporating issues around sustainability and ecological awareness as part of their teaching and learning ethos.