A KENDAL school is becoming a beacon of sustainability for others to follow after unveiling a new ‘green’ initiative.

The town’s Ghyllside primary is on course to reduce its carbon footprint by 50 tonnes a year and save thousands of pounds after finding a more environmentally-friendly way of heating the building.

A state-of-the-art biomass boiler, supplied by Kirkby Lonsdale-based Barden Energy, has been supplied at the Gillinggate site.

Fuelled by locally-sourced woodchip, the 150kW system will generate income via renewable heat incentive payments and be used as a tool to teach pupils about how their actions and choices impact on the environment.

Head teacher Mark Woodburn said the development was an integral part of a school initiative called ‘Ghyllside Going Greener’.

He said: “Schools are all about preparing the citizens of the future. We have a duty to educate children beyond the basic curriculum and make them aware of the wider issues facing the planet. This is a statement on our commitment to sustainability.”

The new facility forms part of a project called Bikes to Biomass, which officially launches on June 6.

Then, staff, children and parents will be encouraged to walk or cycle to lessons - something the school started championing with the installation of a bike storage pod.

The school predicts that changing the way it heats the building will save it around £2,000 a year.

But Mr Woodburn said it would help teachers deliver educational benefits too.

“Along with energy saving lighting and insulation improvements throughout school and a new bike pod to encourage healthy travelling, we are providing real-life examples of how we can make the world a better place for the generations who will follow us,” said Mr Woodburn.

“This project clearly demonstrates to our children, the families involved with our school and the community how committed we are to changing the way people behave around sustainability.”

Will Barden, managing director of Barden Energy, added: “It’s great that Ghyllside’s children will go through school knowing that their heat and hot water come from trees grown in the area and that green energy is not just their future, but all our futures.”

The school has received grants for the project from the Community Sustainable Energy Programme and the EDF Energy Green Fund.