Decarbonising the public sector

7th February 2023
Written by: By Lillian Harrison, Client Support Officer

A message from the headline sponsor of the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2023

Salix Finance is a non-departmental public body funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Welsh and Scottish Government which has supplied finance to the UK public sector, for over 17 years to cut carbon emissions and reduce energy costs.

The Scottish Government has implemented ambitious climate change legislation that sets a target date for net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2045 and a commitment to a 75 per cent carbon reduction target by 2030. Energy efficiency improvements and the decarbonisation of heating are pivotal to the public sector’s ability to meet these targets.

Salix has partnered with the Scottish Government since 2006 to reduce energy spend and carbon emissions across the public sector by offering 100 per cent interest-free loans towards energy efficiency projects. Changes to project compliance criteria over the recent years have enabled more innovative projects, including Solar PV, Air Source Heat Pumps, and holistic whole-building upgrades to enhance overall building efficiency.

In line with the spirit of the awards, Salix has worked extensively over the years to facilitate multi-party collaboration and knowledge sharing across the public sector. Salix provided part funding to support the Highland Council and High Life Highland with the development of the HydroNess, a hydroelectric generator on the banks of the River Ness, which generates energy for the nearby valued Inverness Leisure Centre, with more than 50 per cent of its electrical demand. This project will protect the council from future energy price increases and will provide long-term financial stability. In addition to serving as a key visitor attraction, the site itself will act as a hub for STEM learning with resources for school classes developed by the Science Skills Academy (SSA). The SSA has also produced several educational animations which will enrich the learning experience on site.

Salix also works closely with the Scottish Funding Council supporting their Universities’ Financial Transactions Programmes to support decarbonisation among Scottish Higher Education Institutions. Abertay University, across three funding rounds, has received a total of nearly £10m in loan funding from the Scottish Funding Council to fund an array of carbon-saving upgrades that are estimated to lower emissions by 265 tonnes per year. Salix continues to work with the Scottish Funding Council to produce case studies highlighting the work supported by the programme and facilitate knowledge sharing among Higher Education Institutions.

Salix will continue to work with our public sector partners to address key areas of change within the sector, including the decarbonisation of heat, using a variety of case studies to spark discussions and encourage knowledge sharing within the sector.

If you would like to know more about Salix Finance and our role in increasing the awareness across the public sector in the importance of energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation, visit