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02 April 2012

New school's eco measures to help fund pupils' learning
A new school in North Lincolnshire will use cost-saving green technology to plough more money into educating children.

The new Westcliffe Primary and Infant School, built on the playing fields of the old school in Scunthorpe's Westcliff estate, is packed with energy efficient technology.

The site will be unveiled in a handover on Friday, March 30, and the pupils will transfer from the old school to the new one after the Easter break.

The £5.5-million build is using two types of renewable technology, solar panels and ground source heat pumps (GSHP), meaning that 50 per cent of the total energy used will come from sustainable sources.

A total of 317 solar panels have been installed, which will generate enough energy to power the GSHP, which uses pipes buried in the ground to extract heat from the earth.

"This can then be used to heat radiators, under-floor heating systems and hot water.

The solar panels will generate more energy than is needed to power the heat pumps. But this surplus can either be used in the school or sold back to the grid, offering an annual saving of £3,000.

The technology will also reduce the school's carbon footprint by some 30,000kg of carbon dioxide.

Head teacher Kate Buckley said: "Cost saving is an aspect of the new school build, but being environmentally friendly has been the biggest motivator.

"We are anticipating considerably lower running costs due to the energy efficiency of the new build.

"The extra £3,000 we will have each year will go towards raising attainment in reading and maths.

"We have invested a lot of money in improving the reading ability of our pupils, including a Government- approved reading scheme. The extra money will go towards purchasing reading books and training staff, and the investment has so far had a really positive impact on our young children. We hope to continue this in the future, and also broaden the spending to include maths.

"We are all very excited to move into the new school."

Gary Toomey, regional manager of Tropo, the company that installed the technologies, said: "Ground source heat pumps have many benefits.

"They provide heating and hot water, can lower fuel bills and will reduce the school's carbon emissions. By generating the power to run the GSHP from solar panel modules, the school will be saving even more energy."

The sustainable energy sources in the new build will make Westcliffe Primary the most energy efficient school in the county, according to officials at Tropo.

Councillor Rob Waltham, North Lincolnshire Council cabinet member for adults and children's services, said: "The new Westcliffe Primary School building looks fantastic. I'm sure all the staff and pupils will enjoy working in this modern and green environment when they move in around Easter.

"We want to provide the very best for our primary schools and this school is a great example of the high standards we aim to provide for them."

It is hoped that the new school will be ready for teaching after the Easter break. The old school will then be flattened.

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