At Barker, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. Our team is at the forefront of funding and managing renewable energy solutions, and sustainability in education makes up a core part of this service. We work alongside our Partner, EO Consulting to ensure schools across the UK meet their decarbonisation goals. But exactly how do we achieve this? We spoke to Client Solutions Director at EO Consulting, Jonathan Coyles to find out more.
Could you tell me a bit about you and your role at Barker?
I’ve been working with the team here at Barker for just over 10 years. We started looking at sustainability in education by considering how you use data to make evidence-based investment decisions – whether that’s in buildings or in issues around sustainability. Part of the business driver has been looking at how we improve the built environment whilst supporting clients decarbonise their estate to meet their decarbonisation commitments.
We’ve been helping schools to decarbonise their buildings since 2016 – and we have evidence to show the impact we have delivered. Some clients have already met their 2035 carbon goals for electricity, so we are proud to say we’re helping schools and academies 15 years ahead of the Government’s target.
The driving force behind it all has been to use data to develop evidence-based investment decisions to support schools, and academies and say, “how do we help you achieve your sustainability goals without increasing your operational costs?”
What are the steps Barker is helping schools to take to improve their sustainability measures?
To date, when using private finance and clients’ own money we have mostly focused on LED and PV because it clearly works from an operational point of view. It reduces energy consumption from the grid and carbon footprint whilst also delivering a tangible financial return.
This year as part to the work we have undertaken using funding secured from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme we have also addressed the thermal performance of buildings by supporting clients investment in windows, building fabric and pipework insulation as well as more effective heating control.
In addition, we have considered how the equipment you buy effects your carbon footprint. For example, investing in products such as the Dyson airblade 9Kj hand dryers. They are energy efficient; they reduce use of paper and can be cost effective in the long term.
Tell me more about how you use data?
We have our business intelligence platform eoportal which is built on the market leading Microsoft Power BI platform, which is updated on a daily and monthly basis with data from all the estates we manage. By using this platform, we create intelligent insights for our clients via the platform’s powerful analytics reporting dashboard.
The platform keeps track of, and reports on, how much energy has been saved and how much carbon an organisation has been able to reduce, providing excellent intelligence and real-time insights for stakeholders and decisionmakers alike.
How do you ensure these sustainable projects are funded?
We work alongside trusts and schools to secure funding – whether that’s a government financed project such as the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme or a private sector funded project using operating leases. We go out and use a government framework to procure solutions. We don’t just do the easy bit of project management; we will provide our clients with an end-to-end solution to support their decarbonisation journey.
What’s the latest project you’re working on?
Currently we’re working on the Greenshaw Learning Trust Project, where we’re installing 1.8 megawatts of PV on the roofs of 20 academies. This is an exciting project because it will help them generate truly carbon neutral electricity to meet 20% of their schools’ demand.
It sounds like you’re doing some fantastic work, Jonathan. Thank you so much for speaking with us!