Saturday, June 22, 2024

Innovative university project is among first to be awarded funding under new Scottish Government grant

The University of Edinburgh is among public sector bodies making progress towards net zero targets, thanks to a multi-million-pound government grant programme delivered by Salix, writes Heather Jones.

Scotland’s Public Sector Heat Decarbonisation Fund aims to support local authorities, universities and arm’s-length external organisations to decarbonise their buildings with a focus on heat.

The scheme, funded by the Scottish Government, was launched in July 2023, and opened to applications in November.

As well as the University of Edinburgh, other successful organisations to be awarded funding so far include Fife Council, Perth and Kinross Council, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), North Lanarkshire Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Edinburgh Napier University.

These are ambitious projects all set on tackling the climate crisis we face. And our role at Salix is to support each project achieve its goal. As well as working with the Scottish Government we work with governments across the UK in driving the transition to a low carbon future.

The Scottish funding will help the organisations transition away from fossil fuel-based heating by supporting works that centre around the replacement of heating systems, accompanied with retrofitting energy efficiency measures.

Although these are the first projects to be awarded, a full list of successful applicants is expected to be released later this spring. These are being carefully assessed by our teams at Salix.

Our chief Executive Emma Clancy is determined to see a collaborative approach on the issue and is keen to see results.

She said: “We are delighted to be able to work with these organisations to support their decarbonisation journey and ultimately helping them towards net zero ambitions.

“The broad range of projects showcases some incredibly innovative solutions to the decarbonisation of heat in buildings, and we look forward to seeing the works come to fruition.”

As part of its funding, the organisations will work closely with Salix to deliver the projects.

The funding and projects to date:

  • The University of Edinburgh has been awarded £2,079,459 with this project focusing on reducing the heat demand at four key university buildings across the university’s estate, namely the James Clerk Maxwell Building and Christina Miller Building at their Kings Campus, and halls of residences Grant and Turner House in the city. As part of the project a heat recovery pump will recycle waste heat from one of the University’s data centres and upgrade it for use within a local district heating network.  
  • Fife Council has been awarded £2,404,911. Two sites will be upgraded with this funding: St Andrews RC High School and Beacon Leisure Centre. They will install combination of air-to-water heat pumps and water source heat pumps as the primary heat source as well as heat demand reductions at St Andrew’s RC High School
  • Scotland’s Rural College SRUC has been awarded £387,130 and this project will be SRUCs’ first step on their journey towards net zero. The works will include retrofitting insulation at Grade II listed Kirkmichael House
  • Perth and Kinross Council has been awarded £324,546. This project will focus on upgrading the existing heating supply for Auchtergaven Primary School, a small, rural school situated north of Perth in the village of Bankfoot, with just over 120 pupils on their roll.
  • North Lanarkshire Council has been awarded £2,345,176.00. This project will redevelop the existing Strathclyde Park Watersports Centre into a ‘Net Zero Health Hub’ at the heart of the country park. Works covered by the grant will include a whole building retrofit, redesign and building extension to create additional space for recreational use.  
  • Edinburgh Napier University has been awarded £1,241,966.00 and this project will focus on upgrades at the BE-ST innovation centre (Built Environment – Smarter Transformation, formerly Construction Scotland Innovation Centre). This work will include the removal of gas-based fossil fuel heating system as part of retrofit including mechanical ventilation and heat recovery, a sustainable innovative curtain wall system, a solar PV integrated roof system and a sustainable LED ready lighting control system.
  • Dumfries and Galloway Council has been awarded £2.5 million. The Dumfries Ice Bowl is a popular community venue and home to a dedicated ice hockey and skating rink, and a six-rink curling pad. It is a major sports hub from serving grassroots coaching to international curling and hockey tournaments, as well as figure skating.  The project focuses on building upgrades through the replacement of the mains gas system with a low emission water source heat pump with heat recapture technology.

Climate crisis is the biggest issue of our time and organisations must push forward to address the key challenges we face.

Scotland’s Public Sector Heat Decarbonisation Fund encourages innovation and action as organisations develop a united approach to tackling our impact on climate.

At Salix, we are looking forward to working with the successful projects in Scotland, working with the teams, the organisations and with the Scottish Government.

Afterall, we have no time to waste, every day we see the impact of global climate change. Every day we must act.

Read more about our work at Salix at

Heather Jones is Senior Programme Manager at Salix working with the Scottish Government to develop and deliver funding schemes to support the Scottish public sector’s transition to zero emissions.

This article appeared in the May 2024 issue of Energy Manager magazine. Subscribe here.

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