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HEFCE's Revolving Green Fund is actively supporting projects in the higher education sector that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A recent evaluation of the fund shows current projects are saving over 2 per cent of carbon emissions each year, and if projects continue at current levels and frequency the fund could lead to 8.6 per cent carbon emissions savings at universities each year by 2020.
The evaluation of the Revolving Green Fund was commissioned by HEFCE.
Launched in August 2008, the Revolving Green Fund is a partnership between HEFCE and Salix Finance that supports universities in radically transforming their approaches to energy consumption and reducing emissions.
Fifty-nine universities are receiving funding through the fund, which has two strands: an Institutional Small Projects Fund and a 'Transformational' fund for large, one-off projects.
The fund provides long-term recoverable grants, repayable by institutions through the savings they make. Just over £44 million, including university contributions, is initially being spent on energy-saving projects. As savings are repaid, the funding will be invested again in further projects.
Steve Egan, Deputy Chief Executive of HEFCE, says:
'The Revolving Green Fund demonstrates what can be achieved with a modest investment and university commitment to reduce carbon emissions. With £30 million the sector will save over 221,000 tonnes of carbon; that's 10 per cent of current emissions. We know more needs to be done but this is an excellent start.'
Alastair Keir, Chief Executive of Salix Finance, adds:
'It's vital that higher education institutions, like all public sector bodies, take action now to reduce energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions. The Revolving Green Fund's Institutional Small Projects Fund is continuing to demonstrate that basic energy efficiency measures – such as improved insulation, lighting upgrades and heating improvement – get quick results with long-lasting cost benefits.
'I'm delighted with the impressive level of progress to date, with huge opportunities for further improvement. The evaluation published by HEFCE demonstrates to policymakers that future support for invest-to-save schemes of this type is a vital component in meeting efficiency and emissions targets.'
'Evaluation of the Revolving Green Fund: a report to HEFCE'