Sustainable chools need to think carefully not only about how much energy they consume, but also where that energy comes from. Installing an off grid renewable power generation systems such as solar panels or a wind turbine on a school building or on school grounds is an excellent and obvious way to improve the school’s sustainability.
How Green is Your Energy?
Energy companies have to reveal their energy mix. Disclosures reveal how much of the fuel mix received by their customers is made up of the different types of power: coal, natural gas, nuclear, renewable etc…
You should be able to find out this information by checking with the supplier directly or local authority (if purchased via a framework).
By reviewing the tariff and the fuel mix for that tariff, you can ascertain whether or not your school is currently running on a green energy tariff.
It is important to understand that there is no guarantee that you will actually be using 100% renewable energy, even when you are on a 100% renewables green energy tariff. All of the electricity comes from the same big melting pot of the national grid. The energy used can only ever be as green as the overall national grid itself.
What is a Green Energy Tariff?
A green energy tariff is one which is derived from renewable sources.
The greenest energy tariffs are those which offer 100% renewables. It is important to look carefully at the fuel mix for different tariffs, since some ‘green tariffs’ may only include around 15% or small proportion of renewables in their fuel mix. You can request to see the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificate which provides transparency about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation.
It is sensible to look at the additional steps that a supplier takes to contribute to the future of green energy – through investment in renewable power generation sites, for example. Some suppliers have far better records than others when it comes to initial investment and infrastructure development.
Why Opt for a Green Energy Tariff?
Traditionally green energy has come at a cost, however advances and increased demand over recent years mean that costs are much more comparable to carbon derived fuel tariffs. It no longer costs as much to make the right choice as it once did – the costs of renewable energy production are forecasted to continue to reduce as investment in green technology increases.
Choosing a green energy tariff is certainly the right choice for schools wishing to improve their sustainability and their carbon footprint. With UK schools accounting for 2% of the UK carbon emissions, schools can play a significant role by switching to green energy.
By choosing a green energy tariff with 100% renewables, your school can be part of helping to promote green energy and increasing the share of renewable power in the overall national grid.
The only way to ensure that your school really is currently using 100% renewable energy is to generate the power you require on site. While such an installation can be costly, the costs can be recouped over time. And the true value to your school, to the surrounding community, and to the planet as a whole will of course be far, far greater.