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Colleges get £5 million energy efficiency boost

Further education (FE) colleges in England, Scotland and Wales are to benefit from £5 billion of energy efficiency funding.

The investment is being made available through the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and is intended as a catalyst for investment in technologies that will lower carbon emissions and create financial savings.

EAUC has worked in partnership with Salix Finance to deliver the new funding, which comes on top of over £21 million invested by Salix in energy efficiency projects in 201 FE colleges. 

The funds already allocated by the company have saved the sector approximately £81 million over the lifetime of the projects.

Technologies acquired using the money include boiler upgrades, conventional fluorescent lighting upgrades, building fabric insulation and improvements to heating and hot water distribution.

Iain Patton, chief executive officer of EAUC, said: "The EAUC are delighted to develop the new College Energy Fund, in partnership with Salix. 

"This fund will provide EAUC college members a new finance stream to invest in estate efficiency and create financial savings. In these hard times for colleges, this provides critical financial support for our members to deliver real results."

Any FE College who receives a majority of their income directly from the public sector is eligible to apply for funding. 

The loan will be repayable by direct debit on a six monthly basis over a period of four years. Interested parties must submit their applications by noon on Friday January 30th 2015 and funding will be awarded at the end of February 2015.

Among the beneficiaries, Stafford FE college has used an interest-free loan of £320,829 from Salix to replace their oil-fired heating with an energy efficient gas boiler, as well as installing more environmentally friendly lighting.

Wakefield College, meanwhile, installed LED lighting updates using a loan of £360,718. This has improved learning environments for pupils and teachers, and is set to generate annual savings of over £1 million.

Posted by Simon Webster