Top Technologies for Further Education Colleges

Submitted by Salix on Tue, 20/11/2018 - 13:45

The most effective energy efficient technologies to help reduce energy consumption and monetary spending in Further Education Colleges.

Salix have worked with the Further Education sector since 2009 offering interest-free finance for the installation of energy efficiency technologies. The savings on energy bills realised from installing more efficient measures can be reallocated across the college, allowing budgets to go further and release funding for other purposes. With over 100 energy efficient technologies eligible for Salix funding, this article outlines five popular measures that are effective in saving money and reducing carbon emissions across College estates.

LED Lighting and Controls

Lighting accounts for a significant proportion of all the electricity consumed within Colleges. Upgrading old lighting with more efficient LED lamps and installing lighting controls ensures lights are only used when required. In addition to the significant financial and carbon savings that can be made, the longer lifespan of LED lamps can also reduce maintenance requirements, improve the aesthetics of old buildings and enhance the learning and teaching environment for students and staff.

East Riding College recently completed a campus-wide lighting project to upgrade old conventional fluorescent lighting to LED in both teaching and non-teaching areas such as, classrooms, communal areas, laboratories, kitchens and corridors. 100% of the total project cost was funded through £173,183 of interest-free finance from Salix. The project is estimated to save the college £34,667 and 121tCO2e annually.

Elaine Hall, Estates and SHE manager at the College said, “the existing installation was completed in 2009, over the past year the system had become problematic. Technology has now advanced in the LED arena and large savings could be seen at the planning stages of the project, not only financially, environmentally, usage and in the maintenance of the system but also in the aesthetics of the building. The project now complete has allowed for all the key drivers to be fulfilled”.

Heating, Ventilation and Cooling  

Heating, ventilation and cooling can often represent one of the highest monetary outgoings for Colleges due to the high energy consumption of the technologies. The replacement of inefficient boilers and ventilation upgrades through the installation of variable speed fans and motors can significantly improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. This in turn will reduce high energy costs. Free cooling mechanisms can also be used to improve the efficiency of cooling in server rooms to reduce reliance on energy intensive air conditioning units.

Through an interest-free loan of £25,412 City of Wolverhampton College carried out a Boiler Upgrade project that is estimated to save £73,544 over the lifetime of the project. The College will pay back the loan through the savings made on their energy bills. Daniel Harris, Facilities Coordinator at the College has said, “The installation of efficient condensing boilers has reduced our energy bills by £5,000 a year and improved the comfort of our facilities with reduced noise levels and increased reliability.”

Building Management Systems (BEMS)

BEMS provide the central point of control for the operation of building services throughout a college campus. Used to control heating, ventilation and cooling, BEMS can also be extended to include all building support services. The technology provides a way to monitor and rapidly adjust equipment, improving the reliability and performance of buildings and delivering substantial savings. Typically, the resulting financial savings from reduced maintenance costs and improved plant longevity are even more substantial than the energy efficiency gains.

Over the past decade Salix have provided almost £2.8 million of interest-free finance for BEMS projects in Colleges. These projects have ranged in value from small building systems to larger campus wide upgrades. The average payback on these projects is 3.5 years and is estimated to save over £4.8 million over the lifetime of all projects across the sector.


Significant energy savings can be made to reduce heat loss from poorly insulated pipework and building fabric. Pipework insulation projects can have quick installation periods and due to the large savings on energy bills often have short payback periods. Other insulation projects such as Cavity Wall and Roof Insulation can ensure that unnecessary heat loss from a building is reduced.

In 2018, the College of West Anglia used £8,841 of interest-free finance to insulate the pipework in their boiler room. Through this measure, the college is estimated to see an annual saving of £3,126 and upon completion, can pay back the loan in under three years.

Solar PV

Following the implementation of more energy efficiency technologies within buildings, the next step is often to install renewable generation. As the cost of Solar PV has fallen, this is now a preferred measure when looking to reduce dependence on grid electricity and can lower the Colleges carbon footprint. Solar PV installations are also a popular way to raise awareness of the sustainability agenda amongst students and the local community.

In 2018, West Kent and Ashford College were the first further education college to access a Salix interest-free loan to fund the installation of Solar PV. The 260kWp array will reduce the carbon footprint of the college as they are estimated to see a saving of over 90 tCO2e every year. Claudia Johannes, Head of Procurement at the College said, “it is an incredibly powerful symbol to our students and the wider community.  The environmental benefits, in terms of CO2 savings is impressive.”

More information about how Salix can support the education sector with carbon and cost reduction plans across their estates can be found on the Salix website here. Finance is now available for Further Education Colleges on a rolling basis, for more details contact [email protected]