Partners across Europe have been sharing ideas on how to promote energy efficiency as part of a five-year EU project.
The Renovation for Energy Efficient Buildings (REBUS) project sees eight public authorities from countries across Europe come together to exchange ideas and good practice on how to make their buildings more energy efficient.
As the UK partner, representatives from Durham County Council attended a meeting in Krakow in Poland, where all attendees presented examples of their work, which included a visit to a solar farm that helps power a historic former royal castle.
They also visited Miskolc in Hungary where staff demonstrated their work with a local research innovation centre and the implementation of a district heating system using geothermal power.
European partners have also been learning from projects based in County Durham, with a team from Florence visiting the OASES Team based at Esh Winning Primary School to learn about the programme, which engages with over 240 schools to support them to reduce their energy use and help the pupils understand the impact that they can make.
They also met with staff to learn about the energy measures in the school itself, which range from solar PV panels, a biomass boiler, excellent insulation and lots of natural light through the design of the classroom roofs.
Their visit also included a trip to Pittington Primary School to hear from their Power Savers pupil group, as well as a meeting with the School Business Manager from Ferryhill Business and Enterprise College who spoke about its long-term approach to energy efficiency including the implementation of solar panels, new efficient boilers and LED lights.
Staff from the Florentine Energy Agency learnt more about The Big Switch Off Campaign, which has helped save money through reducing electricity usage and costs in council buildings.
Rich Hurst, Sustainability Education Development Advisor at Durham County Council, said: “A key part of this project is learning from colleagues across Europe and it has been both fascinating and very worthwhile to visit those who are facing similar challenges.
“Some of their energy efficiency projects have real potential to work in our county and further afield and we know that our visitors were also very impressed with the schemes already implemented in Durham.”
REBUS, is a five-year project funded through Interreg Europe. For more information, visit: https://www.durham.gov.uk/rebus