What’s being done to help schools transition to net zero?

Listen to our latest podcast with EQUANS’ Mark Dolling on the ‘School Zero’ project – set up to help get schools on a greener pathway

Net Hero Podcast

“Where better to start with the community transition to net zero carbon than in local schools?”

Schools need help on the net zero pathway just as much as any other business and organisation – but what’s being done to facilitate this?

In our latest podcast we spoke with Mark Dolling, Director of Education and Public Sector at EQUANS, part of the ENGIE group, who explained the role they are playing in getting schools on the right track.

“We embarked on the development of a concept about 18 months ago, conscious that there wasn’t anything in the market specifically for schools to support them, in terms of retrofitting and decarbonising. ‘School Zero’ is our approach to decarbonising the school estate within the UK,” he explained.

“Schools are significant consumers of energy and carbon. When we talk to local authorities, schools account for between 30 and 40% of their total carbon consumption. Alongside housing, I would say they’re the two principle sectors that local government are really looking at.”

Matthew Shotton, Headteacher at Fairfields Primary School in Milton Keynes, one of the schools involved in ‘School Zero’, said: “A child came to me and said I really think we should show David Attenborough’s speech [at COP26] to the whole school – so it’s not just what’s happening in school now, it’s what’s happening in their communities, globally – everybody’s talking about it.

“But it’s really nice to see that it’s actually having an impact on young people and children as well.

“[Schools] are trying to create citizens of the future and bring into the community children that are responsible citizens and with that, comes the responsibility that goes beyond what you’re doing in school and about what you’re doing as a positive contributor the world as well.”

Alisha, a ten-year old student, part of the Eco Council at Fairfields, said: “The Eco Council is a group of children that really care about making the Earth sustainable and green. It’s a group of us that help out with the allotment, making the school more eco-friendly and things like that.

“We talk about what we could do to help the environment, like turning off the lights when you’re not in a room.”

On what she learnt from ‘School Zero’, she said: “We were learning about renewable energy – solar and wind”.

Listen to the full podcast to learn more about ‘School Zero’ and what EQUANS are doing to help schools get started on their net zero journeys.