St George’s Weybridge Officially Unveil Latest Sustainability Success

At St George's Weybridge, we constantly challenge our staff and students to make sustainability a priority; and from saving on 70,000 yoghurt pots per year to switching to 100% recycled, unbleached paper which saves 500 trees per year, we are making green changes and improvements.

And at the end of May, we were incredibly proud to have Cllr Margaret Harnden, Mayor of Runnymede, officially unveil our most ambitious green project to date, and one that will have the largest impact on reducing our carbon footprint: a Ground Source Heat Pump System.

The project kicked off in 2019 with a feasibility study by ReEnergise Limited, but normal progress was halted during Covid. Resurrected as soon as Covid restrictions allowed, the project then needed to run within very tight deadlines to secure Government incentive payments. The project needed bold decision-making from the Governing Body in the teeth of a global pandemic, and finally started on site in May 2021.

The Ground Source Heat Pump System consists of an underground array of 132 vertical boreholes, each around 140m deep each (compared to the London Eye at 135 high!), containing around 36km of pipe, around which flows around 20,000 litres of anti-freeze. The System produces no greenhouse gases at the point of use and because the electricity used to power the pumps and other elements is all sustainably generated, the whole System is close to producing zero harmful emissions.

The project involved a staggering amount of computer modelling, drilling, digging, mud, water, slurry disposal, pipe-laying, fusion welding, and glycol, and was laced with not a small amount of friction, weather-disruption, Covid-disruption, and stress - but through cooperation and teamwork we are now at the wonderful point of having a fully operating heating and cooling system.

The net result will be a reduction in harmful gas emissions from heating the school buildings by over 90%, which equates to about 270 tonnes of CO2 per year no longer being discharged into the atmosphere. That is about 35% or our total CO2 emissions from natural gas consumption!

We are proud of the progress we have made in establishing a greener, more sustainable school and to be at the forefront of adopting innovative technologies.

7 June 2022

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