Carbon footprint is a term that has been thrown around in the news recently, with the explosion of information that has emerged about climate change. Carbon footprint is the overall amount of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily consisting of carbon dioxide, that an individual or organisation produces. Carbon footprint is one of the most common measures used to determine an individuals or organisations effect on the environment. An increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore carbon footprint, is the key characteristic associated with climate change and global warming.
Why Should Schools Reduce Their Carbon Footprint?
Reducing your carbon footprint not only helps save the environment but it also means saving money. Current school energy cost are set to rise by £625m per year. The estimated average cost of energy at a primary school is £27,000 and the estimated average cost of energy at a secondary school is over £80,000. These figures are expected to rise year on year! Case studies and research conducted by government bodies suggest that schools can save up to 20% off its energy bills through replacement of heating systems, lighting and cooling equipment. Change can start on a small scale level and still make a huge impact. Converting a 70 year old heating system is an enormous cost, however using an energy saving light bulb could pay for itself in as little as 67 days. Small changes can make a big difference.
Carbon footprint reduction doesn’t have to be the sole burden of the school and teachers, pupils can also be highly involved. Reducing emissions by adopting active modes of transport such as bikes, walking, and running not only helps the environment but has significant health benefits. It can also help to reduce travel costs. If a school is too far to walk or cycle to there are more sustainable options available. Lift shares are a viable environmental option to reduce carbon footprint. Fewer cars on the road leads to less air pollution, gas and oil reduction, car maintenance reduction and reduction in traffic congestion.
As previously mentioned the burden of carbon footprint reduction does not have to be the sole responsibility of the school, although pupils will need encouraging. There are a number of ways schools can encourage pupils, schools can setup a carbon footprint council to discuss and implement measures across the school. Provide bike storage and introduce incentives for students who walk and cycle to school. This can be enhanced further by providing an online lift share noticeboard so that parents can communicate with each other and provide shared transport.
What To Do Next?
Make a commitment at your school to reduce your carbon footprint
Recognise the different roles the school, staff, and pupils can undertake to reduce carbon emissions
We are always interested to hear what schools are doing to help the environment. Please get in touch and let us know what you are doing to reduce your carbon footprint. Contact Horizon Teachers via social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org