Universities For The Future: Decarbonising Scotland

Universities For The Future: Decarbonising Scotland 

Please note that applications for the Universities for the Future programme 2019-20 are no longer being accepted. Higher education institutions interested in funding energy efficiency projects should contact the Scotland Team to discuss available funding opportunities in 2020-21.   

In partnership with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), Salix Finance have launched the Universities for the Future programme to boost investment in energy efficiency across Scotland’s higher education institutions, provide accessible support and finance for carbon reduction throughout the sector and build capacity for funding in additional years, benefiting both students and staff. 

The Scottish Government has allocated up to £55m towards the SFC's 2019-20 Financial Transactions programme. Aimed at 'spend-to-save' projects, the programme aims to boost energy efficiency investment across Scotland's Higher Educatation Institutions, improving the student experience, showing collaboration with other public sector bodies and providing accessible support and finance for carbon reduction projects across the sector.  

Accessible to all higher education institutions in Scotland, the carbon reduction element of the programme will be allocated over the next two financial years by Salix on behalf of SC and will support a wide range of projects, including building fabric improvements and district heating.  

Some examples of project themes can be found below: 

  • Reduction to backlog maintenance through energy efficiency projects 

  • Reduction of carbon emissions from laboratories 

  • Reduction of carbon emissions using modern, low energy data centres 

  • Site wide approach to low energy lighting 

  • Improvements to the student union buildings 

  • Improvements to the student experience e.g. lecture theatres, libraries 

  • Better building controls to use low levels of heating and cooling 

  • Collaboration between public sector bodies 

  • Student engagement in support of projects 

Up to £19m is available in 2019/20, and universities are encouraged to submit an application which includes projects for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years. 

Monitoring Forms 

Universities are kindly requested to submit a quarterly monitoring form to Salix to update on their project progress, notifying Salix of any cost changes, risk or delays to UFTF projects. The monitoring forms are available here for download

We appreciate that Covid-19 is likely to have impacted significantly on your energy efficiency projects but ask you to complete with all readily available information. As business as usual process has been affect by the virus we would like to understand your current situation, any progress to report or concerns you may have.  

When completed, please email your forms to [email protected] 


  • March 2020: SFC issues loan offers 

  • Projects start – March – July 2020 

  • Q1 Monitoring Form – August 2020 

  • Q2 Monitoring Form – November 2020 

  • Q3 Monitoring Form – February 2021 

  • Q4 Monitoring Form – April 2021 

Payback and Carbon Criteria 

Project criteria are up to a 10-year payback at a cost of £400 per tonne of CO2 over the lifetime of the project. 

For gas/oil saving projects* the criteria are up to a 15-year payback at a cost of £600 per tonne of CO2 over the lifetime of the project. 

*This considers upgrades that support the decarbonisation of heating, such as building fabric improvements and district heating. 

There is no maximum loan value for applications. 

There is a preference that universities structure their applications as one per customer, but include all the projects they wish to apply to be considered. 

Universities are encouraged to show a firm commitment and willingness to tackle decarbonisation and undertake challenging projects which reduce the carbon footprint. 

Most projects will be assessed as repaying within the 10 to 15 years but if projects cannot repay within the 10 or 15 years but there is evidence of tackling the challenging decarbonisation agenda, extending the repayment period will be considered. Please contact Salix to discuss these issues during the preparation of your application. 

Best practice and case study examples for a range of energy efficiency projects implemented by public sector organisations across the UK can be found on the free Knowledge Share area. 

Please continue to check this page for further updates on the Universities for the Future programme. 

If you have any questions please get in touch with the Scotland team on 020 3102 6900, or contact Heather Jones, Scotland Programme Manager heather.jones@salixfinance.co.uk