Work to make Wookey Primary School near Wells more energy efficient and environmentally friendly has now completed, as the school becomes the latest local authority building to receive a ‘decarbonisation makeover’.

Pupils and staff at Wookey Primary can soon look forward to reaping the benefits of savings made on energy bills; money which can instead be channelled into more educational resources.

To enable new levels of energy efficiency and lower the building’s carbon output, Somerset Council have carried out a number of upgrades. The school has kissed goodbye to its old oil-fuelled boiler, which has been replaced by a modern air source heat pump. Rooftop solar technology has been installed, along with new radiators, windows, doors and upgraded insulation – saving 13.2 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

Councillor Tessa Munt, Lead Member for Children’s Services, said:

I’m delighted to see this project reach completion. Reducing the school’s carbon footprint shows we’re listening to our children and young people, we share their passion for reducing energy use and protecting our environment and we care about their priorities for the world in which they are growing up.

Somerset Council is now embarking on its School Growth Programme too, which will involve the construction of several carbon net zero school builds. The first project in Glastonbury, a new autism spectrum condition base for St. Dunstan’s School, is expected to complete in July.

Having successfully bid for £4.1 million from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) and committing a further £5.6 million into the initiative itself, Somerset Council has now completed decarbonisation works on several of its buildings. The project at Wookey Primary is a neat example of the process the money is funding. A site visit and feasibility study informs a decarbonisation report; the data from which allows the Council to understand and prioritise the parts of the estate most in need of decarbonisation work.

Councillor Sarah Dyke, Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change, said:

The decarbonisation work on a whole range of council-owned buildings has the dual benefits of reducing energy bills while also reducing emissions. We are determined to help Somerset be prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of climate change as we continue to deliver against our Climate Emergency Strategy. Each of these decarbonisation projects contribute towards our 2030 net zero target.

Andrew Marsh, Headteacher of Wookey Primary School, added:

Despite a huge amount of external work, we are pleased that the character of our old school buildings has not been lost. The work was carried out sympathetically and with minimum disruption to the children’s learning.

As well as teaching our children about sustainable energy, at a time when school budgets are under incredible pressure, we are hopeful that this project will lead to savings that can be passed on to our children.

Site visit of Wookey Primary School and its new energy efficient features

About this article

May 11, 2023

Rachel Limon

Children and Families

Climate Emergency