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Funding energy improvements in community buildings

Making energy efficiency improvements to your community building will reduce its carbon emissions and energy costs.

Some improvements may be low or zero cost, but for larger and more costly improvements you’ll need a budget. This page covers building-specific funding options for community buildings. It covers:

You can find out more about other options for funding a community energy project here.

Explore your options for making your community building more energy efficient and create an action plan with our free Energy improvements in community buildings resource.

Solar panels on the roof of a school building.
Pupils, parents and staff helped to raise over £45,000 to fund Wedmore First School’s solar panels.

Village halls and community buildings

Start by contacting your local council to see if they offer any local grant funding schemes for your proposed measures. If your area has a Local Action Group or a Rural Community Council, they may also have a small grants scheme.

A loan could be an attractive option for improving your building’s heating or lighting efficiency, where the payback times are relatively short. Loan funding will most likely require a robust business plan as well as a legally recognised body to manage to project and be held accountable should anything go wrong.

Some key examples of ethical and charitable banks which offer loans for projects that have environmental or social impact include:

It’s worth some extra research in your local area, but a key one in addition to those listed above is the Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund, which provides loans of up to £20,000 to fill temporary gaps in funding, either for specific projects or for urgent work connected with a building.  It’s managed by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE). ACRE also run a nationwide advice and information service for the volunteers who manage village halls, with a network advisor in every English county who can support with funding applications and much more. Find your ACRE advisor here.

If there’s a landfill site within ten miles of your community building, then you could be eligible for the Landfill Communities Fund.

Some funds administered by CSE may also provide funding for community building improvements.


If there’s school budget allocated for building improvements or maintenance costs you could make a strong case for money to be allocated to making energy efficiency improvements.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme from the central government provides grants for public sector bodies to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures. The scheme is delivered by Salix Funding, guidance and application forms are available on their website.

Schools may also be able to raise a significant proportion of the money needed to install improvements through fundraising activities and donations from the school community.


Several funds are targeted specifically at churches and faith groups. Here are some examples:

Explore other funding options for your community energy project.