15 May 2024: The UK Government has provided the public sector with a £557 million cash boost for energy efficient upgrades. The new initiatives aim to lower emissions and reduce costs, aligning with the government's strategy to achieve its world-leading net zero targets in a sustainable and practical manner.

Heat pumps, solar panels, insulation, and energy-efficient lighting will be implemented in public buildings and businesses to enhance energy efficiency and reduce expenses. Overall, decarbonising the public sector is projected to save approximately £650 million annually until 2037.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is set to receive £530 million including various projects viz:

  • Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust received over £21 million to decarbonise three buildings by installing new heat pumps and implementing wall, loft, and roof insulation, double glazing, and LED lighting.
  • Loughborough University awarded over £2 million to decarbonise their Olympic-size swimming pool by replacing old gas-fired boilers with efficient, cleaner heat pumps.
  • Surrey County Council granted over £5 million to reduce emissions across 19 sites, including libraries, nursing homes, community centres, Guildford Fire Station, schools, and the council's headquarters in Reigate.

Additionally, the government has announced £27.5 million from the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund to assist high energy-use businesses in reducing their bills and carbon emissions. New projects include:

  • Pilkington UK relocating its glass manufacturing line to a single facility in St Helens, reducing carbon emissions by using an upgraded furnace.
  • Sofidel replacing their natural gas steam boiler with one that can run on green hydrogen at their Leicester paper mill, transforming their energy-intensive manufacturing process.
  • Plastipak UK upgrading 13 drying systems at their Wrexham plant to save energy during the production of preforms and containers for food, drink, and dairy products.

In a government press release, the UK minister for energy efficiency, Lord Callanan said,  "From school corridors to the businesses that power up our economy, we want to make sure buildings of all shapes and sizes are supported to deliver net zero.”

He further added, "By allocating over £557m today, we are standing steadfast behind our public sector and local businesses, providing the help they need to make the switch to cleaner, homegrown energy. This will not only help cut bills in the long term but ensure we keep reducing our emissions – having already led the world by halving them since 1990."

The UK Government's investment of half a billion pounds in decarbonising the public sector marks a significant milestone in its broader commitment to energy efficiency. This announcement underscores the government's pledge to allocate over £12 billion towards energy efficiency initiatives by 2028. Such efforts will not only enhance environmental sustainability but also enable numerous organisations and businesses to reap the benefits of cleaner, more secure energy. With this substantial funding, the UK is taking decisive steps towards a greener future, demonstrating its leadership in the global push for decarbonisation.