Salix Finance, provider of interest-free finance for energy efficiency schemes in further education institutions, outlines five popular measures it has found to be the most effective in saving money and reducing carbon emissions across college estates

their high energy consumption. Replacing boilers and making upgrades to ventilation systems can significantly improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems, reducing energy costs. Free cooling mechanisms can also improve efficiency, reducing reliance on energy intensive air conditioning units. Thanks to a boiler upgrade, City of

Wolverhampton College is estimated to save £73,544 over the lifetime of the project. The college will pay back a £25,412 interest-free Salix loan from savings to their energy bills.


ome to hundreds of students, lecturers and visitors, and with plenty

of facilities including computer suites, libraries, classrooms and workshops used daily, further education institutions are highly energy intensive - with substantial energy bills to match. Fortunately, colleges can easily reduce their energy consumption and monetary spending by installing energy efficient technologies.

LED LIGHTING AND CONTROLS Lighting accounts for a significant proportion of electricity expended within colleges. Upgrading older lighting to more efficient LEDs is a great way of reducing consumption, bringing significant financial and carbon savings. Installing lighting controls further reduces use, ensuring lights are only used when required. New LEDs can also improve the aesthetics of old buildings, enhance learning and teaching environments, and lower maintenance costs due to their longer lifespans. City of Wolverhampton college

completed a campus-wide lighting project, upgrading old lighting to LEDs across teaching and non-teaching areas including classrooms and communal areas. The £25,000 project, funded through Salix, is estimated to save the college £6,892 and 21t CO2 annually. Daniel Harris, facilities and procurement

manager at the college says: “Upgrading lighting across the college has enabled significant savings to be made to our energy bills and greenhouse gas


emissions. The college is also benefitting from improved lighting levels across the campus, creating a lighter and brighter teaching environment for students and staff.”

BEMS Building energy management systems (BEMS) provide the central point of control for building services throughout a campus, including heating, ventilation and cooling. Enabling equipment to be centrally monitored and adjusted, BEMS can improve the reliability and performance of buildings, delivering substantial savings. Over the past decade Salix has funded

almost £2.8m worth of BEMS projects in colleges. Ranging in value from small building systems to larger campus wide upgrades, the average payback on these projects is three and a half years. In total, they are estimated to save over £4.8m across the sector. Laura Couldrey, programme manager at

Salix says: “Installing BEMS is an excellent starting point to review the efficiency of your estate, allowing you to monitor energy consumption and easily identify areas where energy is wasted. Data from other efficiency measures you undertake will also be available, providing further evidence of energy efficiency.”

HEATING, VENTILATION, COOLING Heating, ventilation and cooling systems can often represent one of the largest monetary outgoings for colleges, due to

INSULATION Significant energy savings can be made by reducing heat loss from poorly insulated pipework and building fabric. Pipework insulation projects are quick to install and, due to their large energy bill savings, often have short loan payback periods. Other insulation projects like cavity wall and roof insulation can also reduce unnecessary heat loss. The College of West Anglia used

£8,841 of interest-free finance to insulate pipework in its boiler room and is set to see annual savings of £3,126. Once complete, it will be able to repay the loan in under three years from the savings.

SOLAR PV Solar PV installations are also a popular way to raise awareness of the sustainability agenda amongst students and the local community. As the cost of Solar PV has fallen, it’s a beneficial measure for institutions looking to lower their carbon footprint and reduce their dependency on grid electricity. Since 2015, Salix has provided over

£2.3m of funding for Solar PV projects across the public sector, £467,784 of which has been utilised for projects within colleges. This has saved 818 tonnes of CO2 being released annually and over £6.5m in lifetime savings for the public sector. Ben Hartfield, technical coordinator at

Salix says: “After reducing their buildings’ consumption to best-practice levels, public sector bodies are increasingly turning to Solar PV to further tackle their carbon footprint and high electricity bills.”

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