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Our webinar, How to access the new £1 billion Salix fund to finance school heat decarbonisation, building structure improvements and energy efficiency measures, detailed the Government’s new fund of £1 billion for public sector energy efficiency initiatives. We outlined the types of projects that are covered under the new fast-track scheme, and how we can help you to formulate and deliver an application. It prompted lots of listener questions which we have summarised here.

If the application is rejected, can you reapply?

Yes, provided it is within the deadline of 4 December for the Low Carbon Skills Fund and 11 January 2021 for the grant.

Should the applications be submitted per school or per MAT? Can you make more than one application per school?

It is possible to make multiple applications for each school.  For MAT’s we recommend one application per trust, this enables a single application for a group of Academies to reduce administration time and this can also assist enabling the combined projects across the Academies to meet the compliance criteria.

Can we apply for this if we have CIF funding already in place, for example for replacement glazing?

This scheme is separate to CIF and you are welcome to apply for the additional Decarbonisation projects.

Is it worth a small primary academy applying?

This funding is available for all of the Public Sector, irrespective of scale of entity.

What is the process for applying for several different projects within schools in a MAT?

Aggregated bids have a benefit in consolidation to meet the compliance criteria, so the advantage for a MAT is that we can pull all the projects together from several schools within the MAT in order to meet the <£500/tCO2e LT requirement more easily. The application process is the same, so we recommend you complete the Low Carbon Skills Fund first to identify all the projects. You can then submit one grant for the whole MAT to cover all the projects.

How does the new funding scheme fit with CIF bids? Should we apply to both schemes?

CIF bids are open now, so you can prepare your CIF bids to go in by the end of November. This new Salix scheme is a much quicker process because you won’t hear the outcome of CIF bids until around February/March. However, the technologies are more restricted under this new scheme. We can help you evaluate whether your identified projects will be suitable for funding under either scheme.

If we need to run a procurement/tender process due to the value of the spend can we apply for funding for an organisation to run the procurement process for us?

Yes, up to 10% can be included in the grant funding for any professional services, including design, specification and project management.

Can Briar Zenergi support the whole process?

Yes, if you engage Briar we can support the whole process, from the Low Carbon Skills Fund to identify suitable projects, through to guiding you through a grant application, and then project managing and implementing the technologies upon successful funding.

Is there enough time to get the application in if we haven’t even started to look at energy saving technologies?

Yes, given the limited window for this funding we have rationalised our approach to look at four main technologies; heat decarbonisation; building structure/double glazing; LED lighting and PV Solar. The reason for our approach is to allow these projects to be fast-tracked because we understand that some schools that may not have looked at these technologies before and will want to take advantage of the scheme. We can very quickly get out to your site to make an assessment of suitable projects under the Low Carbon Skills Fund. But we do need to act quickly, so don’t delay.

Do schools have to fund any of it?

No, schools don’t need to provide any funding, it is all covered within the scheme.  However, if projects do not meet the compliance criteria, it is possible that only a partial grant may be offered.

We have a large glazed roof can this be replaced under the scheme as we don’t have any heating system to upgrade as we already have new gas boilers?

If you have new boilers, your academy is not the best suited for this scheme.  You could still apply for the glazing upgrade and commit to upgrading the boilers to a decarbonised heat source at the end of their life.

In order to save time, can we appoint different consultants to submit bids for different projects?

We recommend you should rationalise your bids to the most appropriate Academies for heat decarbonisation.  We recommend defining this from the outset.  It is unlikely to be practical for you to deliver projects in all of your Academies in 2021. It will be more practical to work with a single consultant to deliver the grant application in view of the short timescales.

Will a full building project be supported? If the building project is up to the standards of Passivhaus and replacing timber frame structure?

In theory, Salix can provide grant funding for supplementary energy efficiency elements that take a building beyond the regulated (Building regulation energy efficiency) standards. This, however, would need a detailed report from your building designers and may not be practical in the short time available.

Is LED Lighting suitable for grant funding?

LED lighting can be considered, but it is unlikely to gain 100% funding due to the compliance criteria. Lighting can be funded as an Salix energy efficiency loan for grant maintained schools, or potentially privately funded on a savings repayment basis for academies.
We have oil fired boilers but no gas to the school, is it worth replacing for natural gas in a tank? If you have oil boilers, it is best to look at the practicality of an ASHP solution for your heating, this would be supported and enable other capital measures such as Solar PV and improving your building structure to be included.

Can you advise on negotiating with the Diocese for church schools, since ours is not keen on PV solar on the roof despite having an expensive heating system and poorly insulated building.

Solar PV is an excellent measure for schools, if your roof is in good condition, facing south and unobstructed, we would recommend considering this as part of a bid.

The webinar is essential viewing for any school that can act quickly to deploy the grant to projects focused around heat decarbonisation, renewables and energy efficiency. Since the window for accessing the funding is very limited, we outline the key dates and the urgent next steps required to enable schools the best chance of accessing it. We  also provide a summary of broader energy efficiency measures and building improvements that can be implemented alongside heat decarbonisation projects. Listen to the webinar

For more information about the scheme click here

02 Nov 2020

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