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School fuels green energy future

PUBLISHED: 10:05 19 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:48 03 July 2010

A NORFOLK school is blazing a green trail by replacing three oil boilers by a new one fuelled by wood pellets.

Flegg High School in Martham, near Yarmouth, has become only the second school in Norfolk - following Alderman Peel High in Wells - to install a wood-fuel burner as a way of cutting carbon emissions and power bills.

A NORFOLK school is blazing a green trail by replacing three oil boilers by a new one fuelled by wood pellets.

Flegg High School in Martham, near Yarmouth, has become only the second school in Norfolk - following Alderman Peel High in Wells - to install a wood-fuel burner as a way of cutting carbon emissions and power bills.

Headteacher Cherry Crowley, who yesterday joined staff and pupils for a ceremonial switch-on, said: “We wanted to do our bit for the environment by using a renewable and sustainable source of fuel. It's a tremendous learning project for young people. We are educators and if young people can be involved in renewable energy first hand they can understand the relevance to them. We will take small groups of pupils to see the boiler to learn how it works.”

The cost of the £245,000 biomass boiler project was met by £115,000 from school funds, £50,000 from the government's bio-energy capital grants scheme run by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, £30,000 from EDF Energy's Green Fund, £30,000 from the Broads Authority's sustainable development fund and £20,000 from Norfolk County Council. The school hopes to save 197,000kwh of energy every year due to boiler efficiency and cut its bills by up to £7,000 a year.

All the heating and hot water for about 25 classrooms in the main school, drama studio, hall, IT rooms, offices and reception will be generated by the green heating system. The boiler will be fuelled by wood pellets made from sawdust produced by a company in Lowestoft.

Rod Grundy, the school's operations manager, had the idea to go green when three of the school's oil boilers needed replacing.

He said: “It did not make sense to buy three new oil boilers when we could develop our use of sustainable resources and save money with just one biomass boiler. The school plans to install further renewable energy technology in the future, including a wind turbine and solar panels.

“The pupils we have are the adults of the future. They clearly have a responsibility to themselves, their families and the world to do what they can to make a positive difference to the environment.”

Peter Thorn, who leads EDF Energy's programme for greener schools, said although there were only a few schools with wood-fuel burners in the UK, they hoped more would follow the example. “Britain has enormous forestry resources and the reintroduction of positive woodland management stimulated by demand from a growing wood-energy industry would help create jobs and enhance our local woodlands for wildlife,” he said.

A back-up oil burner will heat hot water in the summer.


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