£29m for HE energy efficiency projects

UK universities granted funding to invest in long-term energy, carbon and financial savings

More than 40 higher education institutions are set to drastically reduce energy bills after successfully bidding for the Salix Finance and Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Revolving Green Fund Four

The £29 million of funding will be used for investment in energy efficiency projects, which will reduce energy bills by more than £5 million and carbon emissions by over 25 tonnes each year.

Salix Finance Chief Executive, Annie Shepperd, said: “We are proud to be involved in this world class initiative to make our universities more energy efficient and contribute to our nation’s carbon reduction plan. We need our universities to lead the way and influence others. Students are looking to be educated in institutions which act as exemplars in terms of sustainability. This matters for our future.”

The intention of the fund is to encourage innovative projects that significantly reduce energy use and therefore carbon emissions for long-term savings. HEFCE Chief Executive, Madeleine Atkins, commented: “As well as reducing carbon use, the Revolving Green Fund allows universities to obtain some very significant financial paybacks. I am pleased that the fund continues to encourage projects that save money and reduce carbon emissions.”

A condition of the funding is that learning is shared amongst the higher education sector to promote good practice in terms of creating sustainable buildings and inspiring learning environments. Applications for the fourth round of the RGF indicate that energy efficiency is a priority on the agenda; with applications from universities totalling over £38 million.

The Revolving Green Fund 4, launched in 2014, and builds on the successes of rounds 1 to 3. The 2014 evaluation showed that RGF funded projects are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by just under 12 per cent of the sector’s 2020 reduction target, deliver annual savings of nearly £19 million and lever in a further £23.9 million from other sources. 

The report, by Blue Alumni, also found that HEIs applying for or receiving RGF funding have reduced emissions by 7 to 10% more than HEIs which did not apply for or receive RGF funding.

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