28th October 2020
The people at Barker are our key strength and are at the forefront of serving and supporting our clients. Meet Edwin O’Connell who is an Associate. He delivers on our Energy and Sustainability programmes. We take 5 with Ed…
Hi Edwin! Tell us a bit about yourself.
My background is in energy, sustainability and environmental management, and I have worked in the built environment for the last 15 years, primarily in London.
Barker has allowed me to concentrate on deployment of carbon reduction technologies within the education estate on a much larger scale. When I joined, sustainability was a growing concept but it is now firmly on the Government’s agenda with climate change and recent government announcements such as the Public Sector Decarbanisation Scheme (PSDS). The grant scheme allows schools and trusts to apply for a grant to finance up to 100% of the costs of capital energy-saving projects that meet the scheme criteria. I am looking forward to supporting schools and Trusts with their scheme applications, helping them to save money and achieve net zero carbon emissions over the long term.
Tell us about your role at Barker, what is it you do?
I am responsible for the delivery of energy and sustainability related programmes. Alongside the team, I look at Multi Academy Trusts (MAT’s) and their estates to identify opportunities for carbon reduction and energy efficiency projects. My role is to help identify funding opportunities to help bridge the funding gap and work with MAT’s to secure funding through various funding pots.
What element of the job do you enjoy the most?
Definitely project delivery. I have seen carbon reduction technologies emerge and become mainstream. The concept of carbon reduction is no longer a foreign concept in the education sector but the preferred default option.
We are fundamentally addressing the climate change agenda and allowing schools, Trusts, colleges and universities to do their part from a built environment perspective which is really exciting!
What are the benefits of energy transformation and how important do you think it is to an educational academy for example?
Academies are custodians of buildings and estates that unfortunately can be suffering from years of underinvestment – even the prospect of doing nothing will only compound the issue of restricted teaching budgets, as future teaching funding is diverted to address increased energy costs and condition related issues.
By taking a strategic look at schools’ current energy usage patterns and energy related condition items, we can be a critical yet supportive partner to the academies and help foresee any future issues. This approach allows us to concentrate our efforts where needed to help get those academies the funding they need.
Let’s finish with a fun question – if you were hosting a dinner party and could invite any 3 famous people, who would you pick and why?
My Covid Tier 1 dinner party would have to be with the people that have made me laugh through the years – Bill Murray, Steve Carell and Kevin Bridges would be hilarious.