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Inverness school lighting trial helps save 1 million KWH of energy after rolling out to 11 other sites

By Philip Murray

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The LED lighting has proven to be a big energy saver.
The LED lighting has proven to be a big energy saver.

An eco trial at an Inverness school proved such a success that it has saved a million kilowatt hours of electricity after being rolled out more widely.

Millburn Academy was chosen to trial an “ambitious” LED lighting project in January last year.

And it proved such a success that it was subsequently rolled out to 11 schools last year - preventing the equivalent of 252 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere in 2023, on top of the impressive electricity savings.

The new system helps reduce energy costs by automatically turning lights off in unoccupied rooms and dimming them in response to daylight levels. The use of LED lighting also means that maintenance costs are lower as they last five times longer than the fluorescent equivalent.

The project is expected to reduce electricity consumption by another half a million KWH and save 112 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2024.

The project was the result of the company Mears Group’s partnership with Alpha Schools (Highland).

Alex Ballentine, Facilities Management general manager, Highlands, at Mears Group, said: “We’re really pleased to be working to support these schools on their journeys to net zero. One of the key parts of this project was communication, working with the staff and students at the schools to ensure what we were proposing was fit for purpose, and the feedback received has been positive.

“Since starting the project in January 2023, we have already seen an average reduction of 25 per cent in terms of both electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.”

Kerry Sinclair, headteacher at Millburn Academy, added: “It’s great that Mears is helping us achieve our ambitious net zero targets and taking the carbon management of the school so seriously. The new LED lighting has not only helped us reduce our energy levels but has made the school a lot brighter.

“The Mears team who installed the new lighting were friendly and helpful, and even educated the children and staff on how we can help improve our carbon footprint.”

Mears’ team is now building on the success of the LED lighting project and looking at where else this approach can be rolled out across its portfolio, including a recent LED lighting initiative at St Andrew’s Hospital in Fife.

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