With school budgets shrinking and concerns over ever-increasing energy costs, Salix – the Government’s energy efficiency finance initiative – could help your school to improve energy management and save revenue funding. Salix Finance launched a Schools programme in 2012 funded by the Department for Education, providing 100% interest-free loans for schools in England. Since then over £10 million has been allocated to 250 maintained schools and Academies for energy efficiency projects. SMARTech energy recently caught up with Salix to gain an insight into the scheme.
BLOG by SMARTech energy’s SEMS Account Manager, John Maggs.
SMARTech energy visited the recent Primary Heads’ Association Bristol’s ‘School Suppliers Showcase’ to meet Jack Saunders from Salix. We discussed the range of finance available for energy efficiency projects in schools and Jack explained the breadth of the organisation’s remit; essentially to provide interest-free Government funding to the public sector to improve their energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills.
For qualifying schools, this means that interest free loans can be provided to finance projects whose prime purpose is to reduce energy use. In practice however, schools will also benefit from operational gains such as better lighting conditions or more efficient heating, not to mention the cost savings from reduced energy bills. The main proviso is that payback periods must be for eight years or less. This is a relaxation of Salix’s usual payback limit of five years. Salix recognise that schools are operational for only part of the year, meaning that payback periods will be longer than for comparable projects where organisations are running year-round.
Jack mentioned a range of schools that have benefited from loans from Salix, with case studies for many of these available on the Salix website. This is well worth a look to get an idea of what can be achieved.
Qualifying projects can start from as little as £5,000, with no maximum, and can be made up from a combination of up to 10 different elements. When preparing a bid, it often pays to include elements with a low payback time (such as replacement LED lighting) alongside higher payback projects (such as heating); in this way, the overall payback time of a bid can be reduced to under eight years. Projects with higher payback times can be funded, but the school would then need to part-finance the element of the cost not covered by Salix.
One of Salix’s recommendations is to obtain expert advice, including appointing a consultant to undertake an energy audit and propose cost-effective projects. SMARTech energy is ideally placed to do this. Using our innovative energy monitoring technology, we can help to track energy wastage and consumption throughout your school. This enables us to identify appropriate actions and using the data collected we can then help with the Salix application process. SMARTech energy can also help to identify a mix of project elements to help secure full funding.
SMARTech energy has been invited to attend a Salix workshop for private sector energy reduction consultancies in November, so look out for a summary of this event on a future blog entry.
For more information on this, please call John Maggs at SMARTech energy on 01225 635 660.