CARING FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT

“To cultivate a global outlook and environmental responsibility” is one of the core educational aims of the School.

Our pupil-led Eco Committee are the driving force behind behavioural change; their aim is to influence behaviours of pupils and staff as well as educating them on resource efficiency topics and to champion the sustainable ethos to them and their wider circle of families, friends and future employers. Each boarding and day house has representatives on the Eco committee that are empowered to give advice and direction to their peers. Information is also relayed to Senior House Staff to enable them to facilitate and encourage behavioural change. Each academic year the Committee run projects to engage the School community.

All staff receive environmental awareness training and new pupils routinely have an introduction to Estates at the beginning of every academic year as part of PSHE lessons. This gives them an appreciation of where their water and heating come from, how waste is managed, what resources are used, and what work goes on behind the scenes to make the School run.
 

GOLD CARBON CHARTER 2019

In 2019, RHS was awarded a Gold Carbon Charter by Suffolk Council for its work to reduce its overall carbon footprint by 35% since 2010. Particular savings were made in the utilities: water usage down 54%, heating oil usage down 41%, and electricity down 26%. A comprehensive metering and monitoring system was put in place in 2012 which identified areas for improvement. This works alongside an increasingly sophisticated Building Management System which more accurately controls energy use.

Significant investment has been made in:

  • Insulating pipework and lofts – most of accessible areas now insulated.
  • Secondary glazing of 158 windows (while being sensitive to Grade II listing).
  • Installing LED lighting – ongoing programme throughout whole school.
  • Swimming Pool cover – paid for itself in energy cost savings within a year.
  • Adjustments to machinery to increase operational efficiency, e.g. pump inverters.
  • Overhaul of water treatment system, saving electricity and eliminating waste.
  • Refurbishment of Laundry to use more efficient machinery, remove dry cleaning machine and convert from oil to LPG.
  • Working with support of our Catering contractor, Chartwells, food waste goes to the Adnams biodigester, and oil to the Olleco scheme. Sustainably sourced non-plastic disposables are used when reusable tableware cannot be. For example, during the October 2019 replacement of the dishwasher for a more efficient model.
  • Purozo Stabilised Aqueous Ozone (SAO) will replace 80% of cleaning chemicals used by August 2020. The units produce aqueous ozone solution created from clean water, and which reverts to water after 24hrs, so there is no chemical waste. All containers are reusable, and there is no packaging, production and transport from buying chemicals. The filter used to create the SAO is recycled by Purozo at the end of its life.

Our work since 2019 has been hampered somewhat by Covid, as we have not been able to maintain our carbon log but we are committed to renewing this status over the coming years. 'Small Changes, Big Impact' is the Eco Committee’s next focus, looking at how everyone can make positive changes to live more sustainably. These include: 

  • Waste generated has increased in recent years. Day to day waste from the running of the business has not increased, but that generated by refurbishment works, which integrate energy efficiencies, have created a temporary increase in our ‘waste footprint’. This will decrease in future years as major projects decrease.
  • More efficient and dynamic staff working practices, coupled with several major projects have increased vehicle use, and an increased range of off-site activities, increasing pupil transport, have seen a gradual rise in diesel and petrol consumption in recent years. Three electric vehicles are part of the fleet, but to purchase more electric vans fit for purpose proved unaffordable.
  • Planning permission has been approved for solar panels on one of the non-listed buildings, to be completed as soon as funding is available. Work continues with the Eco Committee and Chartwells to eliminate single use plastic in packed lunches, and ‘Meat free Mondays’ seeks to highlight the issue of mass-produced meat and cut down the volume of it in the School menu.

 

Eco News