Carbon footprint schools challenge
As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting STEM students, recently, we welcomed some bright-eyed, ambitious A-Level Chemistry students from some local schools and sixth form colleges to HQ.
The students from St Nicholas Catholic High School, Sir John Deane’s Sixth Form College, Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College and Tarporley High School and Sixth Form College were challenged to come up with ideas to reduce their school’s carbon footprint.
Working in partnership with The Pledge Cheshire and Warrington, whose aim is to bridge the gap between education and the world of work, we asked the A-Level pupils to calculate the carbon footprint of their school or college, considering things such as lighting, heating and transport, and then come up with ideas on how they could reduce it. Some stand-out ideas included:
- Switching the schools paper supply (over half a million sheets) to paper made from limestone which has a far lower environmental impact.
- Educating younger students on the impact they can have on climate change through art workshops using recycled materials.
- Switching the school canteen to plates, which are washed and reused, rather than disposable trays.
- Reducing the amount of meat on the menu.
- Encouraging school bus companies to switch to electric vehicles.
- Installing smart radiator valves to control classroom temperatures.
- Raising awareness and changing behaviours to encourage students and staff to turn off lighting and heating and to recycle more.
- Changing the network settings to put computers into sleep mode more quickly.
- Planting trees on school grounds to improve biodiversity.
- Upgrading school buildings and windows to improve energy performance.
- Installing solar panels.
- Switching all of the school’s lights to LED bulbs.
As well as a visit to our ground-breaking carbon capture and utilisation plant, the students also listened to our MD Martin Ashcroft who discussed the practical applications of what they were learning. Abi Lee and Tom Murphy from our energy team also kindly gave up their time to inspire the students with their own individual career journeys.
Our judging panel found it really hard to choose just one team as it was clear that so much thought and effort had gone into all four of the presentations. However, the judging panel decided that the team from Sir John Deane’s College had really hit the brief. Each member won a £50 Amazon voucher and everyone who took part got a £10 Amazon voucher.
Grainne Patterson, Learning & Development Manager, facilitated the whole day and said “It was so rewarding to see the students engaged in the topic and eager to learn more about our company and the opportunities available here at TCE. I was really impressed with their initial ideas which they came up with for their carbon footprint project and look forward to hearing all about their projects when they return next month to deliver their presentations.”
Martin Ashcroft, Managing Director of TCE said: “When we were asked to become part of the A-Level Carbon Footprint Project with our local A-Level Chemistry students we jumped at the opportunity, not least because we have been involved in our own journey to Net Zero for over 20 years.
“We were proud to be able to show the students our new Carbon Capture Utilisation (CCU) plant, and to hopefully give them some inspiration in coming up with their own ideas on reducing their school’s carbon footprint.”
Here at TCE we are committed to supporting local schools, encouraging STEM students and helping them to bring their curriculum to life. We’re excited to start planning more events and competitions for local students to get involved in. Watch this space!