For schools and academies across the country, reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency is high on the agenda. Successfully minimising energy usage brings with it a number of benefits, helping educators to not only lessen their outgoing spend and free up funds to be used elsewhere, but also reduce their environmental impact and contribute towards national carbon reduction targets.
While the advantages of implementing energy efficiency schemes speak for themselves, financial barriers can often delay such projects from getting off the ground. A lack of available capital is commonly cited as a difficulty when looking to conduct energy improvements.
There are a number of funding avenues available, including the new £25m pilot funding programme launched by the DfE and Salix Finance, aimed at maintained schools looking to install energy efficiency measures over the summer of 2018. The scheme provides an excellent opportunity for schools to see work completed over the summer holidays to avoid disruption during term time. The scheme is part of wider plan to deliver more than £25 million of funding over a two-year period and is projected to help 1,000 schools*.
Salix is an independent, government-funded organisation, providing interest-free loans to public sector organisations to enable them to invest in energy efficient technologies, reducing their carbon emissions and energy bills. To date, Salix has financed £563m on over 15,500 energy efficiency projects for the public sector.
Thanks to a long-term partnership between Salix and the Department for Education (DfE), the education sector is one area that has particularly benefited from energy efficiency funding. Over the past 14 years, Salix has worked with more than 500 schools and colleges to save on their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint.
In addition to financial barriers, an absence of resources, technical support or organisational ‘buy in’ can also prevent energy efficiency schemes from coming to life. As well as providing funding, Salix also works to eliminate these issues by offering support and advice right from the initial idea stage.
The payback period of the loan will be calculated based on the projected energy savings from the new technologies installed, always ensuring that the repayments are cost-neutral to the schools. Schools also benefit from a longer period to pay back their loans compared to other public-sector organisations. This is due to schools typically having lower operating hours than other public sector bodies such as hospitals, universities or councils, and as a result, will take longer to see financial returns.
To see how the funding programme can cut the energy bills at your school, please contact [email protected]
*This figure is based on an average project size of £25,000.