Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Decarbonisation study • Completed October 2021


The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD)  is a higher education institution founded in 1906 (as The Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art) to offer a new form of training in speech and drama for young actors and other students. RCSSD offers a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate, research degrees and short courses in acting, actor training, applied theatre, theatre crafts and related areas.

PUNL was asked by Camden Council to undertake a decarbonisation study for RCSSD at its main site in Swiss Cottage. The site has grown over the years with building construction dates ranging from the 1890s right up to 2019. It currently relies on a series of gas-fired boilers serving each block independently, of varying ages and conditions.

The ambition of the School is to reduce the carbon emissions of the buildings in response to Camden Council’s Climate Emergency declaration.

Funding & delivery

PUNL commissioned Elementa to do the technical study, and in October 2021 they published their report setting out the key operational performance targets, with the intent that RCSSD will become ‘net zero ready’. This is where energy is reduced as much as possible and is all electric, allowing it to be met through onsite renewable energy generation and offsite renewable electricity procurement. The report recommended that RCSSD target an energy use intensity of 75-100kWh/m2 .yr. This work was funded by Camden Council and project managed by PUNL.

Benefits & impact

The decarbonisation report sets out a series of interventions to reduce carbon emissions and their associated capital costs. This is a large site with buildings of varying ages and the range of capital costs for the interventions was £2m – £5m with associated carbon savings of between 59 tonnes a year and 178 tonnes a year.