energy efficient schools are going to the top of the class after taking part in a fuel-saving project.

Joseph Rowntree School, St Aelred's Primary, Huntington Primary, Park Grove and Haxby Road Primary are in line for thousands of pounds of grant aid after taking part in a pilot scheme designed to reward energy-conscious schools.

All are partners in PlanetYork, which aims to make the city the UK's most energy efficient.

Organisers of the School Energy Certification Pilot Scheme will give each school £1,000 as a thank you for taking part, and they will be eligible to apply for more cash to increase their efficiency.

Michael Francis, Joseph Rowntree's business manager, said: "This has provided us with a great opportunity to look at ways in which we can not only save money on fuel costs, but also put into practice a more comprehensive holistic approach to energy conservation.

"Energy management is one area where we can make substantial savings and being part of this pilot has helped concentrate everyone's minds."

The school set up an energy team made up of sixth-formers, governors and staff to find ways to cut fuel use.

They converted from oil to gas-fuelled heating, installed efficient light fittings and incorporated energy awareness into the education curriculum.

At Haxby Road, an energy audit showed where waste was caused, and showed a problem from doors fastened open during breaks.

Park Grove's head teacher ,Andrew Calverley, said: "The changes we have made are already saving money. Since 1999, the school has doubled in size and our energy costs have remained the same."

Huntington Primary school has insulated pipes and loft spaces, increased paper recycling and installed double glazing.

St Aelred's head teacher Dave Houghton said: "We have been able to show our pupils that, by doing small things, we can not only save energy but also eventually save the planet."

PlanetYork, a year-long project, has now entered its final month.

For more information contact 0800 512012.

Updated: 12:54 Thursday, July 04, 2002