Greener School Buildings Could Save Taxpayers £2.6bn a Year

World | Sustainable Development

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

If all the UK’s school buildings were replaced with the most energy efficient alternatives taxpayers would save £2.6bn a year from the schools budget, new research has revealed.

A paper released yesterday by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of zero-emissions buildings firm Net Zero Buildings argues major savings could be found in the education budget if more efficient buildings were widely used.

Net Zero Buildings has created what it claims to be the UK’s most energy efficient school building – a modular building constructed off-site that features airtight insulation and solar energy installations.

The net zero-emission construction stands in stark contrast to much of the UK’s current school building stock, 60 per cent of which was built before 1976. If all school buildings were as efficient as the Schoolhaus design the Department of Education would save £2.6bn a year, almost five per cent of its annual budget, according to the analysis.

The UK’s growing population means demand for school places in the UK is set to grow 10 per cent over the next decade. The Department of Education has a target of building at least 500 new schools by 2020 to cater for rising demand, but some studies suggest more than 2,000 new school buildings will be needed.

According to today’s report, if 500 new schools were built to Schoolhaus’ efficiency standards savings of £1.25bn could accrue to taxpayers over the next 60 years from cheaper capital, energy, maintenance, and lifecycle costs. If 2,000 schools are built to net zero standards the savings could rise to £5bn over the same period.

“With pupil numbers forecast to grow by around 10 per cent between now and 2026, it’s clear that innovative solutions are required to ease the pressing need for new school buildings,” Net Zero Buildings CEO Neil Smith said in a statement. “This report shows that the government has an opportunity to meet this demand, save money and help to protect the environment.”

The Department for Education was considering a request comment at the time of going to press.