The new round of interest-free Salix loans for academies and sixth form colleges represents an important opportunity to cut carbon and unlock energy savings – but only if quick action is taken, advises Energys Group.

Applications close on 19 December 2014, which means that academies and sixth form colleges have a limited time to tap into a new round of government-backed loans for energy-saving upgrades.

New pot of Salix funding available

Salix Finance provides interest-free loans to the public sector for the installation of measures to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. This new pot of money from Salix is part of the Condition Improvement Fund, and it is aimed exclusively at sixth form colleges, academies, and schools with academy orders signed on or before 1 November 2014.

Projects eligible for Salix financing include lighting upgrades, boiler and heating systems replacements, and renewal of roofs, windows, cladding and curtain walling. However, any planned project needs to meet strict Salix criteria for payback and carbon-saving. In this round of funding, the target payback period should be 4-8 years, although viable projects with longer payback periods may be part-loan/part-grant funded.

Time for quick action

Kevin Cox, Managing Director of Energys Group, comments: “Salix has already funded 12,080 projects across the public sector, resulting in financial savings of more than £1,100million and saving 6,224,242 tonnes of CO2. Thanks to this new pot of money, academies and sixth form colleges now have the chance to unlock their potential for energy saving and carbon reduction – without the usual financial risk.”

He adds: “However, you’ll need to act quickly – Salix advises funding applications should be made by 11 December, with the pot closing for submissions on 19 December. With tight deadlines and long forms involved in Salix applications, it may be prudent to consider using an experienced partner to take the hassle out of the process.”

Energys Group is a specialist in turn-key projects to improve energy-efficiency, including providing assistance with Salix funding applications. Energys’s Salix-approved retrofit technologies, including LED and T5 lighting upgrades and boiler controls, have allowed numerous schools, colleges and academies to benefit from significant energy savings.

Other funding routes

The Condition Improvement Fund is aimed exclusively at academies and sixth form colleges, but there are other pots of Salix funding also available for local authorities, maintained schools, further education colleges and other types of public sector organisations.

For those struggling to meet the Salix criteria, there are alternative funding routes available, too. The rapid payback periods represented by energy-saving technologies mean that lease arrangements make it possible for an installation to be carried out at no capital expenditure, with monthly payments that are lower than the resulting savings on energy bills.

Kevin Cox advises: “Academies, schools and other public sector organisations are losing money on inflated energy bills for every day they leave in place old-style, inefficient lighting and unregulated boilers. Taking advantage of funding pots like Salix makes financial sense, and projects to improve energy efficiency can have a real impact on reducing the public sector’s carbon footprint, too.”

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