Further energy efficiency upgrades worth £553m planned for public buildings

A new round of government funding, worth £553m, will be given to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings through low carbon heating upgrades.

Hospitals, schools, libraries, museums and leisure centres in England are set to receive the funding, which will save local authorities, public bodies and taxpayers an estimated £650m per year over the next 15 years.

Money given through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme will go towards installing heat pumps and insulation in 160 public sector organisations, such as Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Manchester Fire and Rescue and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan said: ‘Using cleaner technology to heat our civic buildings is helping to shield public sector organisations from costly fossil fuels, especially at a time of high global prices.

‘This funding will bring significant savings for taxpayers of well over half a billion pounds each year by making public buildings cheaper to run, heat and cool, whilst supporting economic growth and jobs across the country.’

brown concrete building under white clouds during daytime

Grants have already been awarded to 381 public sector organisations under the first two phases of the scheme, with Phase 1 said to have created 30,000 jobs in green sectors. 

The government has committed £6.6bn to cutting emissions in buildings overall, with an extra £2bn allocated for slashing energy bills in lower-income households. 

This is to try to achieve aims to reduce emissions of public sector buildings by 75% compared to 2017 levels, by 2037.

CEO of the Building Research establishment (BRE), Gillian Charlesworth, welcomed the news, as she said a fifth of all gas is consumed by the public sector, increasing energy prices for businesses, public infrastructure and households. 

She said:The UK has one of the oldest and least energy efficient building stocks in Europe, which unnecessarily inflates demand for natural gas. Accelerating the roll out of retrofit measures like insulation is a short-term solution that could address spiralling bills and significantly improve the energy efficiency of our public buildings. 

‘Aside from keeping the public sector’s energy bills down and reducing its carbon footprint, retrofitting public buildings is a fast and cost-effective strategy to reduce demand for natural gas and will help to support the UK’s energy security. However, without a clear plan and funding to upgrade the UK’s building stock, our energy security strategy cannot be driven forward effectively – and we will quickly lose momentum on the drive to net zero.’

Photo by Tommao Wang


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