In the last week of September 2018 colleagues from Durham County Council and a partner charity stakeholder, OASES attended a staff exchange in Poland to learn more about the 50:50 schools programme from Euronet that ran effectively in 139 schools in the country. 

On the first day we visited the PNEC offices to understand the background of the programme and its methodology, in addition we learnt some practical tips on how to use the energy monitoring equipment that schools on the project used. 

On the second day we travelled to Bielsko-Biala, a city south of Krakow that is an award winning city for its energy efficiency work. We first visited Primary School No1 to meet their Eco-team pupil and learn about their energy saving work as part of the 50:50 programme. In two years they saved 9389 euros from their energy bills.

We moved on from there to visit the Automobile and General Education High School complex which is a large site, comprising many buildings on the same site. We were given a guided tour by the Headteacher who showed us the new capital investment in the school including LED lighting as well as learning from the pupils from their Eco-team about the relatively simple behaviour change projects they implemented. They were rightly proud of their achievements and had further plans for more investment in energy saving technologies.

In the afternoon we met with the Energy Management Unit from Bielsko-Biela municipality. They have a comprehensive Sustainable Energy Action Plan and have achieved excellent results over many years through collaboration and identifying new opportunities and funding. We also got to meet the Deputy Mayor and he kindly gave us some energy related gifts.

We have taken lots of ideas back from the staff exchange to discuss further with colleagues in Durham. We will include them in our work as we have recently re-launched and rebranded our schools programme. 

Thank you everyone at PNEC for the excellent organisation and your warm hospitality in Krakow, it was a really good trip.