For public sector organisations across the country, energy consumption is an important consideration as they look ahead to reduce their outgoing spend and minimise their environmental impact in an increasingly energy conscious environment.
With this in mind, identifying affordable energy-reduction strategies to help with these costs is a key strategy being adopted by those within the public sector a bid to drive down energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.
Upgrading lighting systems is one effective way of reducing energy consumption and creating savings, as leading further education provider Lincoln College discovered after undertaking a transformational lighting upgrade project.
The college is set to save tens of thousands of pounds and significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions after completing a major lighting upgrade across its three campuses with the support of Salix Finance.
As part of its commitment to improving its energy efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint, over 7,000 outdated light fittings were upgraded in 23 buildings across the college group’s three campuses in Lincoln, Newark and Gainsborough.
The new technologies are predicted to cut the college’s energy costs by more than £165,200 per year and reduce carbon emissions by over 605 tonnes* annually, as well as improve the learning environment for its 11,000 students.
Completed over the course of eight months the project involved the replacement of inefficient T12 and T8 florescent light fittings, which no longer provided effective lighting to classrooms, with more modern, reliable and efficient LED luminaries that have helped to create a more comfortable working environment for students and staff.
With a much lower wattage than the previous lights, the new fittings will reduce the amount of energy used in the school without compromising on the quality of lighting. The switch is predicted to cut the school’s annual energy consumption by 70%, equating to a 1.5 GWh saving.
As well as the immediate financial savings made from lower energy bills, the upgrades also have the added benefit of reduced general maintenance costs as the bulbs will need to be changed less often. In total, the improvements are estimated to save the school approximately £3.3m over the lifetime of the technologies.
Following the success of the lighting upgrade project and the tangible improvements on energy saving, the college is now considering further projects to improve energy efficiency, including future IT and boiler replacement projects with the help of Salix.
Rachel Newton, Group Head of Infrastructure, Facilities and Estates at Lincoln College said: “This project is a fantastic step forward for Lincoln College, helping us to lead the way in improving energy efficiency with significant energy and carbon savings.
“Aside from the financial and carbon savings resulting from the reduction in electricity usage, we are also benefitting from considerably improved lighting levels throughout the college buildings. Each of our campuses now have much lighter and brighter teaching environments for students and staff which have been welcomed by all.
“Working with Salix has greatly assisted us in achieving our energy reduction strategy, enabling us to replace the lighting much sooner and on a larger scale than would have otherwise been possible. We’re continuing to look for further opportunities to reduce our school’s environmental impact and look forward to working with Salix again in the future.”
The energy improvements were made possible thanks to more than £704,000 worth of interest-free funding from Salix Finance - an independent, government-funded organisation which provides 100% interest-free loans to the public sector to increase its energy efficiency.
Funding for the project was provided via The College Energy Fund, a partnership between Salix Finance and the EAUC, and supported by the Association of Colleges.
The school will repay the cost of the project from the savings recouped from the reduced energy bills in under five years.
Once the loan is repaid, the school will continue to benefit from the annual savings, meaning the financial impact of the upgrades for the school is minimal and that funding can be used elsewhere.
Another example is WCG (Warwickshire Colleges Group) who used £139,770 of Salix funding to convert existing fluorescent, compact fluorescent and incandescent fittings to a new energy efficient system. This involved the installation of 1234 new LED Fittings (Panels, Highbays and Battens), 562 LED retrofit units and 13 LED Incandescent lights. This is estimated to save the college £29,400 on their energy bills and produce carbon savings of 90 tonnes per annum.
Craven College implemented a project on a smaller scale using £5,156 of Salix funding to convert fluorescent lighting in the canteen and kitchen internal areas to LED, as well as installing LEDs for external bulkhead lighting. The project is expected to save £1,031 annually with annual carbon savings of 3.41 tonnes.
*Calculated using emissions factors published by government in 2017 for carbon foot printing purposes.
For more information on the funding available from Salix, please see: www.salixfinance.co.uk