Synergy News & Blog: News
Energy Efficiency Funding – How to tackle the decarbonisation of your school’s estate
The Carbon Trust estimates that schools could reduce energy costs by around 20% and prevent 625,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
The DfE recently provided schools with targeted capital funding to fund energy efficiency improvements.
We have provided answers to some of the common questions here:
What is this funding for?
This one-off pay-out of £500 million has been provided to help state schools and colleges with energy efficiency upgrades, helping them to manage energy consumption and save on bills. For example, the DfE advise this money could be used to install better heating controls, insulation to reduce heat loss from pipes or switching to energy efficient lighting like LEDs.
How do we know how to best target energy efficiency improvements?
It can be hard to know which energy efficiency projects will have the most impact. Our advice is to commission a specialist to undertake a Heat Decarbonisation Plan for your school estate. This plan will give you a strategic route map of projects to help you to efficiently work towards Net Zero carbon.
If we also have back log maintenance across our estate, how do we prioritise?
The age and condition of your school buildings can have a huge impact on energy efficiency including old boilers, single pane glazing, inefficient lighting and minimal insulation.
Commissioning a Planned Preventative Maintenance Survey (PPM) alongside a Heat Decarbonisation Plan can offer huge benefits.
A holistic review of both the remedial works required to address the condition of your estate in conjunction with your decarbonisation strategy allows your team to consider a fabric first approach along with an integrated M&E solution. This ensures any energy efficiency projects are smartly coordinated with your most pressing maintenance needs.
This can also save significant costs. For example, energy-saving measures can be sequenced to ensure that any reduction made by improving the fabric of the building are accounted for when, for example, sizing low carbon heating plant.
Is there any further funding support available for energy saving improvement projects?
The next round of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) Phase 3c is likely to open in Autumn 2023. The last round (Phase 3b) gave schools, academies and colleges access to £220 million (37%) of the funds allocated. Grants were available for installing lower-carbon heating and energy-efficiency improvements in school buildings.
In addition, in the latest round of the Condition Improvement Fund (2023-24), projects for replacing failing oil and coal boilers with low carbon heating systems were prioritised. Applicants were also able for the first time to use their potential CIF funding as the mandatory contribution towards their application to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS).
Previously there has been a funding route available for pre-capital consultancy work (such as for the production of a heat decarbonisation plan) through the Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund which was designed to arm public sector bodies with the skills and the plans they need to reduce carbon emissions and costs from heating. Whilst £14m was allocated last summer, there is currently no information if there will be another round this year.
How can Synergy help?
Synergy’s Building Surveying team are highly experienced with the production of Planned Preventative Maintenance surveys, estate planning and the available funding mechanisms. We also work with partners who are specialists in estate whole building decarbonisation so together can offer our clients a complete service.