Treloar’s to contribute to carbon reduction in East Hampshire
By the end of this year, we will be making an important contribution to carbon reduction in East Hampshire; we will do this by increasing the number of solar panels across our campus. We’re extremely grateful to our funders for their support with this development which includes East Hampshire District Council’s (EHDC) Community Climate Action Fund and also our individual donors.
Lucinda Gillingham, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Treloar’s, explains the background to this project: “In June 2022, we published our first Environmental Report which sets out our primary goal to cut the campus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 31st August 2030. It also highlights our secondary goals, to reduce emissions of others through behaviour change and facilitation and to reduce non-recyclable waste.”
This is an ambitious goal given the nature of our business: Treloar’s is a charity that provides a school and college for around 170 young people who are physically disabled with complex needs. Over half of our students stay in one of our five residential houses. We have a significant number of staff who work 52 weeks, around 90 staff live on-site and site lettings in the holidays mean our campus is in use day and night 365 days a year.
In terms of the goal to cut GHG, Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, that will be installed on the swimming pool and School roofs at Treloar’s, will help generate electricity, reduce our carbon footprint and utility costs adding to our financial sustainability. The proposal is to install a 18kWp PV panel on the swimming pool roof and a 66kWp PV panel on the School roof. The predicted annual energy generation of the two combined panels will be 69,498 kWh and the annual offset will be 36,347kgCO2.
The new PV panels will compliment others on our site that are proven to be environmentally friendly with low operating/maintenance costs in comparison to other renewable energy systems. The PV panels are also a silent form of generating electricity which is an added consideration for our sensory students.
Who and how many people will benefit from the project?
In the main, the PV panels will benefit all of the 170 Treloar’s students who reside in Alton for their education. The students have complex disabilities and challenges like visual impairments, little or no verbal communication, medical and dietary issues, mental health problems and life-limiting conditions. The 876 staff who support the 170 students at Treloar’s will also benefit, many of whom are EHDC residents.
Treloar’s hires its facilities in the holiday periods to disability groups, on average 260 young people a year would utilise our on-site facilities during these times. An example of two charities who hire our facilities in this way include Through the Roof who have 20 disabled young people attend a summer camp and all use the pool and KEF Kids (UK charity that supports disabled young people) who have 185 people stay for a two-week period, around 50 of whom would be using the pool daily during their stay.
In addition, the PV panels would help to generate electricity costs for heating the swimming pool and ensure that this vital facility can remain open to the community on Friday evenings and weekends. Tadpole Swim School hires the pool for 10 hours per week during these times and it is used by 120+ families who are East Hampshire residents.
The installation of the PV panels will start at Treloar’s campus in Holybourne in September, aiming for completion in December 2023. We expect to save at least £15,000 per annum on our electricity bill from January 2024
Climate change and the environment at Treloar’s
We are working with our students to teach them ways of developing life-long habits to be more environmentally friendly. Thanks to the efforts of the student-led College ‘Eco Council’ we have been awarded an Eco Schools Green Flag. The Council meets every month to raise awareness of climate change, discuss energy saving projects and improvements to the Treloar’s campus.
As well as plans to increase the number of solar panels at Treloar’s, we have expanded our ‘Cycle to Work’ and bike loan schemes (supported through an EHDC Councillor Community Grant); launched a formal lift share scheme for staff; installed electric charging points in the car park; increased our recycling programme; and removed single use plastics where possible. Following an extremely generous gift from one of our individual donors, we have purchased our first electric mini-bus. The mini bus has been specially modified to meet the needs of our students and is used for hospital visits, home drop-offs and extra-curricular trips.
About Community Climate Action Fund
The East Hampshire District Council Community Climate Action Fund (CCAF), supports new projects that will benefit the wider community and encourage education on the response to climate change.
The objectives of this fund are:
- to engage with the wider community on climate issues
- to support carbon reduction in East Hampshire
- to support adaption response to climate change and encourage behaviour change