Press Release: 2018-19, A Successful Year for Scotland

Tuesday 31 January 2023

To date, Salix Finance has supported the Scottish public sector to invest over £63 million in energy efficiency projects which are forecasted to have saved the public sector more than £10 million a year. These projects are contributing towards the Scottish Governments carbon reduction targets as well as improving and modernising facilities for the public.


The Scottish SEELS (Salix Energy Efficiency Loans Scheme) Loan Programme has significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the public sector, seeing investment in a range of energy efficient technologies and substantial financial savings. Glasgow School of Art took out a £1.02m SEELS loan to support the refurbishment of Stow College to accommodate studios for the School of Fine Art.  Originally built in the 1930s, the building will showcase adverse space with functionality across four different levels to improve the experience of both staff and students.

Glasgow School of Art took a coordinated approach with Glasgow City Council to integrate a dedicated cycle route infrastructure and facilities as part of the upgrades which include LED lighting, boiler replacement, improved insulation and heat recovery AHUs. The energy efficiency upgrades will be saving Glasgow School of Art an estimated £127,535 a year on fuel bills and an annual CO2e reduction of 514 tonnes, making a significant contribution to the School’s wider plan to enhance the environmental performance of their estate.

A further example is Midlothian Council’s £1.4m project which has been carried out under the Scottish Government’s Non-Domestic Energy Efficiency (NDEE) Framework and was part-funded by Salix. This project spans across an impressive 12 sites, with expected annual savings of £155,673 and 473 tonnes of CO2e. The works completed in 2019 with the project being led by Gordon Pollock, a Project Director from the Council. Gordon has overseen the delivery of reliable, innovative and creative energy conservation measures in order to enhance and upgrade the existing Council infrastructure.

Gordon said, ‘This project, focusing on a whole building approach, will bring substantial carbon savings with payback on financial investment over the lifetime of the properties. The technology upgrades to our properties will also contribute greatly towards new national targets for a net Zero Carbon Future.’

The 10 schools and two leisure centres will benefit from a variety of technologies including lighting and controls, the optimisation of equipment operating schedules, solar PV, variable speed drive installation and optimisation, combined heat and power and pool upgrades. The project will support the community to secure a functional and comfortable environment for respective students and residents.

Scotland’s Recycling Fund Programme has also seen successful re-investments, with continued carbon and financial savings across several key projects. This programme supports public sector bodies in making a long-term investment in energy efficiency to help reduce carbon emissions across their estates.

Edinburgh City Council’s £16,433 BEMS Improvement Works have allowed for the upgrade of several Air Handling Units, enabling the automated speed control of pumps with forecast speed reduction. This has resulted in around £10,088 financial savings and an estimated annual CO2e reduction of 39 tonnes. The project will also allow for a short payback period of just 1.6 years.

Paul Jones, Energy and Sustainability Manager at Edinburgh Council said, ‘The ability to draw down on Salix funding to support energy efficiency works is essential where other funding streams are unavailable. In this instance, we were able to fund required mechanical alterations and the installation of pressure sensors to bring heating and cooling pumps under variable speed control in one of our main office buildings.’

The Highland Council are another great example of a public sector body that has secured an interest-free loan from Salix Finance to invest in energy efficiency measures across the Council estate. The £3.5m loan, which is the largest Salix has awarded in Scotland, match-funds the Council’s self-financing investments in energy efficiency to create a £7 million Energy Efficiency Fund. The Fund is ring-fenced for investment in projects that will reduce the Council’s energy spend and carbon emissions. This will include switching internal and external building lights to efficient LED lighting, installing Solar Photovoltaics, and upgrading inefficient oil boiler systems.

Glasgow University were also able to fund their £108,780 Plant Growth Chamber LED Project through Salix, with an annual CO2e reduction of around 42 tonnes and financial savings of £14,239. Through the supply of new mobile racking systems in five existing plant growth rooms and the incorporation of specialist LED lamps into both single and double chambers, the university has been able to improve the efficiency of their existing system.

Gillian Brown, Estates Manager at Glasgow University said, “The Estates and Commercial services team were excited to work alongside specialist technical college staff to develop a sustainable and future looking system which contributes to our carbon reduction targets. Upgrading these plant chambers has allow researchers and students to expand the work streams they currently investigate into new and exciting areas of research

Salix’s Scotland Team are continuing to work with clients to receive new applications and are keen to work with public sector organisations as they develop and deliver on their carbon management plans. A new programme, Universities For The Future, in partnership with the SFC and available to all Scottish universities, will be launching soon, with applications now open. Please click here to find out more.