Biomass boilers for Highland Schools


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The Highland Council
July 2017
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Renewable energy for a sustainable future

Robertson Northern fitted biomass boilers to 30 schools in Highland Scotland over a four-year period, to reduce heating costs through the use of renewable energy technology, as well as to improve comfort for pupils.

Robertson Northern completed the £16.7m project as part of a wider refurbishment of schools across the Highland Council area.

The project was procured through Scape, a built environment specialist, using the Scape Major Works framework. This saves time compared with traditional procurement routes and brings quality and value for money guarantees to public sector customers, along with social value benefits to local communities.

We have a responsibility as a major public body and employer to create a greener healthier future.
Councillor Allan Henderson
chair of The Highland Council's places committee
 Biomass boilers across The Highland Council

Working collaboratively across a rural area

We worked collaboratively with The Highland Council to make an investment in high-quality school buildings in rural parts of the country.

It is vital that students are able to study and develop their skills in the best possible learning environment. It is fantastic to see the great work Robertson Northern and Highland Council are doing to ensure schools across the region, not only in big cities, benefit from sustainable and energy-efficient heating systems.
Mark Robinson
Scape Group Chief Executive

Completion of the project marks the end of an extensive project across the Highland Council estate, with some community centres and swimming pools also benefiting from an upgrade by using shared systems.

The last school to be upgraded with biomass heating systems, which generate renewable and sustainable energy, was Edderton Primary near Tain.

Warmer, cleaner and greener schools

Installing these biomass boilers will bring fantastic benefits to the schools and their pupils by providing a comfortable and warm environment to learn.

The work was completed on time, with the new equipment being ready to use ahead of the 2017–18 school term. This also gave the schools peace of mind that a modern, efficient and affordable system was in place for the cold winters ahead.

By making the switch, not only are we providing a cost-effective cleaner, greener energy alternative to more traditional heating methods but we are also cutting emissions, which is good news for the environment.
Councillor Allan Henderson

Helping local communities

Over and above the boiler replacement work, we take every opportunity to help the local community living nearby each school, as well as to use local labour and suppliers wherever we can.

Our site team undertook many small initiatives to help the various schools and residents.

  • In Kinlochbervie we donated a small shed and a football shelter to the school; gave pallets and timber for the woodworking teacher and local residents to use; and improved paths and a games area.
  • At Bettyhill we carried out extensive work to assist with the creation of a new garden area for the school, including a making a notice board and walkway, providing soil and creating an access path.
  • In Thurso we had to remove an existing wall to gain access, but worked to improve this when it was replaced, as well as repairing kerbstones on residential streets and helping to remove waste from the adjacent community hall.
  • In Ullapool, we created a screen to hide a water tank and improve views for local residents.
  • At Bonar Bridge, we constructed a "Bug Hotel" using waste timber for the school and used surplus hardcore to upgrade the footpath from the road.
  • In Golspie, fuel pellets were donated to locals, and a recycled plastic bench was bought for a nearby park area.