Buildings and infrastructure
As an organisation we have set a target to be net carbon zero by 2030 and there is much to do at a range of scales to achieve this alongside other elements of our sustainability vision. We all have a responsibility to carefully consider the impact of our actions on the carbon and resource footprint of the school as well as a responsibility to set a good example through our actions and attitudes.
Over the years, considerable improvements have been made to building energy efficiency with upgraded insulation (in some cases, seeing roofs insulated for the first time), high-efficiency LED lighting with intelligent controls, better heating controls and individual room thermostats. We have also committed to solar energy, which began with the installation of solar thermal panels on Fen House (2008). Solar electric panels on the Thomson (Science) building (2012) and the Sports Hall (2013) took the total power to 50 kW. We recognise, however, that many more of our buildings have optimum south-facing roofs and anticipate adding more solar systems in the years ahead.
Pupil and Staff actions and engagement
Sustainability is overseen by a dedicated Head of Sustainability, with pupil representation coming from a number of committees including:
- Sustainability Society
- Global Goals Group
- Biodiversity Group
- Fair trade group
- Climate Action group
The pupils regularly lead campaigns for energy efficiency (with inter-house competitions), recycling, waste, Fairtrade and more.
Recently appointed Sustainability Prefects in each house have helped to communicate key messages from COP27 to each house, every day of the summit. They have also been involved in discussions about water availability for staff and pupils around the site and have suggested places where new water fountains could be installed to reduce reliance on single use water bottles.
Indeed, engagement of pupils has been paramount in our bid to make effective, long-term changes to behaviours that enable our impact to be reduced. Pupils and staff also serve as ‘eyes and ears’ around the site, spotting and reporting problems that might otherwise be easily missed.
The publicity and commitment to COP27 has provided our greatest opportunity to make huge strides embedding sustainability into the culture of the school. The four COP 27 goals are aligned with our school aims and it is important to consider both in collaboration.
- Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
- Mobilise finance
- Work together to deliver
Our aims are derived from these goals and the six domains of sustainability allow us to develop strategies and targets which in turn, are measurable. Each project we undertake falls under one or more of the domains.
The Leys six domains of sustainability
- EDUCATION, ENGAGEMENT AND AWARENESS
- RESOURCES, ENERGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
- CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
- SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT
- FOOD AND WATER
In short, whilst we accept that the consumption of resources by The Leys has a negligible impact on national demand, we consider it our responsibility to strive for continuous improvements in the design, function and use of our site so that our impact is reduced as much as practicable. In many cases, sustainability actions usually improve teaching, living and working environments whilst simultaneously cutting their impact.