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Work begins to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in Kensington schools

Five North Kensington schools are being future-proofed with major renovations that represent part of an ongoing programme to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in Kensington and Chelsea.

More than 1,500 children will benefit from the energy efficiency improvements, which have seen new heating systems, radiators and pipework installed thanks to Council and Government investment.

New air source heat pumps are replacing old gas heating systems to help improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and create healthier indoor learning environments.

The Council is investing £8 million for the improvements and was also awarded £3,654,475.00 of funding from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which is run by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and delivered by Salix.

The Council is aiming to improve all the borough’s schools and public buildings, but the first five getting the green treatment are Avondale Park Primary, St Francis of Assisi, All Saints Catholic College, Thomas Jones Primary School and Bevington Primary School. Following achieving listed building consent, work will also begin on Colville Primary School on Portobello Road in 2024.

Heat pumps installed at each school are replacing old or temporary heating systems. Avondale Park Primary was using an inefficient temporary boiler after flooding in July 2021. As part of the works a much more efficient interim replacement has been installed and this will in turn be replaced by a new system with four heat pumps serving the entire school. The heat pumps will operate at low decibels to not interrupt school. Along with the heat pumps, new radiators and new pipework will replace original Victorian pipes in some part of the school. Large radiators with a bigger surface area will help the spaces to get warm, without having radiators at very high temperatures, making them safer for the children, more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

Cllr Catherine Faulks, lead member for family and children’s services said: ‘We know that 80 per cent of our borough’s emissions come from buildings. We’re investing to make our school buildings greener which in turn will make classrooms more comfortable for our schoolchildren and for our teachers, who do such an amazing job.

‘At Avondale Park Primary alone, we’ll save 78 tonnes of carbon emissions annually and what’s more, the school will save on their energy costs.’

Ben McMullen, headteacher at Avondale Park Primary, said: ‘For the kids it’s been an exciting time having builders and big machinery on site – there’s been a few diggers – so the children have been enjoying that. I can honestly say the staff have been enjoying it too. The builders work between 4pm and 10pm so they don’t disturb the school day and are quiet and tidy.’

Gerald Habib, client support officer at Salix, said: ‘We are delighted to work with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and are looking forward to joining their decarbonisation journey.

‘Not only will these measures improve the environment for children, creating better places to learn btu the work will create carbon savings, and this will have impacts for the wider community.’

 

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