PUPILS in Torfaen primary and secondary schools took part in a Carbon Trust Wales programme to minimise energy use and raise awareness of the importance of carbon reduction.

The initiative kicked off with a workshop attended by head teachers, caretakers and eco-schools co-ordinators.

Ysgol Bryn Onnen was one of the participants and the school’s head teacher, Ryan Parry, estimates that they are saving around £6,000 per annum on energy bills as a result.

He said: “We have a very active eco-schools committee and are in the process of applying for our third green flag award, so were very keen to get involved in the project. We started with simple measures, such as labelling sockets so pupils know which pieces of equipment need to be kept on at all times, which can be turned off after use, and which they need to ask permission to switch off.

“Our pupils designed posters which are now displayed next to all of our windows, asking people to take advantage of natural light rather than closing the curtains and switching the lights on. We also reviewed our systems and found that we could turn the radiators down by one degree whilst retaining a comfortable temperature.”

He explained that the schools also had a visit from an expert from Torfaen Council who highlighted an issue with draughts, which the school will be resolving through sealing gaps and replacing a main door.

Participants in the programme were encouraged to start by introducing a traffic light labelling system for light switches and electrical equipment, providing information on what could be switched off at what times.

Schools were advised on how to make better use of the energy information available to them, such as half-hourly data from smart meters.

They were supported to investigate measures such as LED lighting and renewable energy generation.

The executive member with responsibility for sustainability, Councillor David Daniels, said: “I’m delighted that Torfaen schools have been championing the message that using less energy is good for us and good for the planet.”

l To find out more visit carbontrust.com/wales or call 0800 085 2005.