The biomass system installed at the Barony Campus is "win-win" according to council chiefs.

The £69million super-school opened to pupils in October 2020, with an officially opening ceremony the following March.

Cumnock's Barony Campus has become a flagship project for East Ayrshire Council, in their quest to reach net carbon zero.

The new campus has been heralded as a game-changer for the area, with the state-of-the-art sporting and teaching facilities on site said to be some of the best in the country.

Cumnock Chronicle: Barony Campus, Cumnock by Sheppard Robson is the biggest capital project ever undertaken by East Ayrshire Council, costing about £68mBarony Campus, Cumnock by Sheppard Robson is the biggest capital project ever undertaken by East Ayrshire Council, costing about £68m (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

However, it's the school's renewable heating source, that has been labelled a game-changer in tackling the climate crisis.

"It was our view that we needed to start tackling the climate agenda," said East Ayrshire Council Sustainability & Building Services Manager, Magnus Dowie.

"Biomass has about eight per cent of the carbon emissions that gas has, so that was the primary reason for choosing biomass.

"The biomass here at Barony is a woodchip system. We get woodchip delivered from a sustainable source, so the carbon for growing the trees is the same as the carbon that's burnt, so it ends up sustainable".

Although running the biomass system is potentially more costly than running a gas system, the biomass system will aim to fast-track the council's plans to cut down their carbon footprint.

Cumnock Chronicle: Pupils enjoying the new state-of-the-art campusPupils enjoying the new state-of-the-art campus (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

The systems also allows the school to qualify for the renewable heat intiative, which allows claims for cash-back for the cost of running a renewable heating system.

Alistair Kidd, East Ayrshire Council Architecture & projects Manager added: "This is East Ayrshire Council's flagship project.

"There's a whole range of options for us as a local authority in terms of how we reach net zero.

 "We felt that this was the right opportunity for a campus of this size, that we install a biomass system.

"It is a win-win. Compared to gas prices, the running of the biomass sytem is comparable and potentially slightly more expensive than running a gas system.

"However, where we benefit is through the renewable heat initiative that we get for installing a biomass system.

"So that, factored together with the overall climate change benefits you get from having a heat source that's renewable in burning woodchip, that in itself is a win-win for East Ayrshire Council."