PRESS RELEASE Strict embargo 7pm BST, 11th June 2009 Contact: Kat Huxtable, Ashden Awards Press Officer: T 020 8533 7031 or mobile: 07958 701 405; E firstname.lastname@example.org or Juliet Heller 01621 868083 mob 07946 616150 E Juliet.email@example.com Primary school wins award for energy plan inspired by penguins in a pickle Tonight the world’s leading green energy Awards scheme announced that Ashley CofE Primary School is joint winner of the Schools Award in the 2009 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy. The winners were presented with their award tonight at a ceremony hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales in London. After witnessing climate change first-hand in 2007 when leading an education team to learn about its impact on the Antarctic, Richard Dunne, head teacher of Ashley School in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, (3) returned home determined to embark on an ambitious carbon-cutting programme at his school. Pupils have risen to the challenge, working alongside governors and staff to make the school an inspiring success story: electricity consumption in the school has been cut by over half in the first year of the programme, and is continuing to go down. The Ashden judges commended Ashley‟s work: “Ashley School demonstrates what can be achieved when a governing body, head teacher, staff and parents work together to make a school more sustainable.” Head teacher Richard Dunne said: “Sustainability is about questioning the status quo and changing what‟s normal, and it has to be at the centre of the curriculum. I‟m determined to constantly push the boundaries in finding new ways to involve, inform and educate young people about more sustainable ways of living.“ The school‟s 270 pupils learn in three teaching blocks, each of which are the subject of the „100 Club‟ challenge, a weekly electricity consumption goal set with a collective target of less than 100 kWh per day. If the school manages to achieve the targets over a whole week, pupils are rewarded with £10 from the head teacher, with a further £10 for each day below 50 kWh. The School Council then decides how the hard-won money is spent. Meanwhile, outside the school a weekly Carbon Countdown Challenge brings out the competitive instinct of staff, pupils and governors‟ families as they strive to use less than 100kWh of electricity per week in their homes. The school has adopted a range of renewable technologies and energy efficiency measures: a solar photovoltaic array, energy efficient lighting and behavioural activities have resulted in a 51% reduction in annual electricity consumption at the school, leading to 11 tonnes of CO2 saved per year. In addition, any excess electricity generated by the solar array when the school is closed is exported to the grid and earns the school 10p per kWh. The installation of a biomass boiler has reduced the use of gas and thus further lowered the school‟s carbon emissions. Pupils are scrupulous about finding ways to reduce energy consumption: they have persuaded teachers to reduce photocopying and find more paper-free ways of teaching. They use a software program, ecoDriver, to monitor electricity consumption and electricity generated by the solar photovoltaic generators and to set daily targets, and they also use the data in maths lessons. A key success factor in the school‟s drive for sustainability has been the commitment of the governing body. Andrew Klimaytys, Chair of Governors at the school explains the governors‟ approach: “In order to facilitate our head teacher‟s time in delivering our sustainability programme, we have reorganised the management structure of the school. We would urge others to do the same, as it has not only made a big dent in the school‟s carbon footprint, but has also had a very positive impact on our finances.” The sustainable energy measures are financed through the school‟s own devolved capital budget, with support from local businesses and energy grants and the parents. The Ashden Schools Awards are supported by WWF. David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF said: "WWF is honoured to be sponsoring the Ashden Schools Award in 2009. Schools have an important role to play in championing action on climate change. Young people can take real action in their homes and schools today. But they are also tomorrow‟s citizens and decision-makers: we need to ensure they have the skills, knowledge and practical experience to make wise choices about the future of our planet." ENDS For further information on the 2009 Ashden Awards UK finalists and to schedule interviews, contact Kat Huxtable, Ashden Awards Press Officer: T + 44 (0) 20 8533 7031 or + 44 (0) 7958 701 405 or firstname.lastname@example.org Photos online: http://www.ashdenawards.org/photos. Film footage of projects on request. Notes to editors 1. The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy were founded in 2001 to encourage the greater use of local sustainable energy to address climate change and alleviate poverty. Since then they have rewarded nearly one hundred winners across the UK and the developing world. The Ashden Awards work to show-case and celebrate best practice, encourage the expansion and replication of winners‟ work, raise awareness of the potential of local sustainable energy, and advocate on their winners‟ behalf. For further information, including photos, films, and case studies on past winners, go to www.ashdenawards.org. The Ashden Awards Patron is HRH The Prince of Wales. 2. The two winners in the Schools Award category, supported by WWF, will receive prize money of £15,000 each. The other is Currie Community High School, Edinburgh, Scotland: Auditing and changing behaviour, installing sustainable systems, and running pupil-led campaigns. 3. UK finalists are available for interview. They will be in London 10-12 June. 4. Please find details of the other UK winners and international winners here www.ashdenawards.org 5. Photos on the UK finalists http://www.ashdenawards.org/media/uk_photos/2009 6. Photos on the International finalists http://www.ashdenawards.org/media/international_photos/2009 7. There were four UK Awards categories with two finalists in each: Business Award - Geothermal International, Coventry: Using heat pumps to provide heating and cooling to large public buildings. - Architype, Herefordshire/London: Reducing energy demand through people-focused building design. Charity Award - Marches Energy Agency (MEA), Shrewsbury: Motivating communities to reduce carbon emissions. - Sustainable Energy Academy (SEA), Milton Keynes: Showing how carbon emissions from homes can be radically reduced. Local Authority Award - Kirklees Council: Rolling out home insulation across a large metropolitan borough. - Devon County Council: Generating employment by supporting renewable energy businesses and customers. Schools Award - Ashley CofE Primary School, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey: Achieving sustainable carbon savings, including an overall reduction in electricity use of over 50%. - Currie Community High School, Edinburgh, Scotland: Auditing and changing behaviour, installing sustainable systems, and running pupil-led campaigns. 8. Six international Ashden Awards and an Award for Outstanding Achievement by a previous international winner were also announced at the Ceremony on 11 June. See www.ashdenawards.org for details.