Students and head teacher outside Portsdown Primary school

Children at a Portsmouth primary school are feeling warmer for less due to energy-saving work from Portsmouth City Council.

In February 2023, the council’s in-house building engineers designed and managed the installation of a more efficient heating system in the main building of the school. The team has been monitoring the system since then, and a year on the results are impressive. The school has cut its energy use and emissions by over half, with a 55% reduction in carbon emissions overall. By replacing the previous heating system, which was reliant on higher polluting oil, the team was able to completely eliminate oil usage, costs and carbon emissions. The total energy consumption of both fuels combined has also decreased by over half.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet member for Education and Skills says:

“What an amazing result for the children at this school, who can concentrate on learning, safe in the knowledge their school is reducing its carbon footprint. We work hard around the city to reduce carbon emissions, and we are delighted that we can help schools with reducing their footprint whilst also keeping the pupils and staff warm during the cold weather. We will continue to work with schools across Portsmouth to achieve this level of savings and play their part in creating a more sustainable future for the community and the city as a whole.”

Mr Ash Vaghela, Head Teacher of Portsdown Primary School said:

“We are really pleased with our new heating system. We have come a long way from our old oil burners which were outdated, messy and environmentally unfriendly. Right from the start and throughout there was a strong partnership work and commitment between the school, the design team, and the engineers to get it right for all. We wanted to future proof this project, so a vast majority of the install can be reused or upgraded if we ever need to move over to an alternative energy source.

The system itself allows for a high degree of control. We can heat up specific areas of the building and better control the times the heating is in operation. In addition, teachers can set the temperature in their classroom to suit their children and support learning. This control means that we are not heating up areas of the school unnecessarily and the distribution of heat is more even. As an added bonus, the new system has helped us improve our energy rating and will help us save money.”

A pupil at Portsdown Primary School said:

“The school is much warmer now which really helps our learning. Before the new system was put in place, we sometimes had to wear coats during lesson times. Some of the old radiators got in the way and didn’t work. I like how we can control the heating as well.

The new heating system is better for the environment as well. I will be growing up with the effects of climate change and every little change we can put in to slow it down or reverse it can only be a good thing.”


In the last few years, many of the city’s schools have benefitted from heating system modernisation works funded by the council’s education, department and designed and delivered by the council’s in-house mechanical engineers. Medina Primary and Cumberland Infant schools have also benefitted from this in the last year.

Medina Primary school had their boilers replaced alongside the heating distribution system, and Cumberland Infant school had their heating distribution system replaced which means the system overall is now running more efficiently.

If you are struggling to pay your energy bills at home, Switched On Portsmouth is a service at the council that offer free energy saving measures and advice to households in Portsmouth. You can find out more about their service at or by calling the freephone number on 0800 260 5907.