Sustainability Contestable Fund

Key information, criteria, guidelines, forms and deadlines for the fund.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther

Inform

  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Administrators
  • Suppliers

The Sustainability Contestable Fund (the Fund) was established to support schools to reduce their environmental impact and improve their operational efficiency.

The Fund was used to support projects to achieve one or more of the following outcomes: 

  • Replacement or conversion of systems that require non-renewable energy sources (e.g. coal boilers)
    Reduction in energy usage

  • Reduction of waste and/or increased recycling

  • Reduction of carbon (CO2) emissions using new technology, infrastructure or energy sources

  • Increased energy resilience, especially for rural and remote schools

  • Other property projects that have a positive environmental impact.

It is recognised that these projects offer educational and additional learning opportunities for students. With supporting information and curriculum materials, these projects can also highlight affirmative action and decrease climate change anxiety amongst students. 

More about the Fund

More about the Fund

The Fund had $5 million in departmental capital funding, which has been distributed to schools across two application rounds.

The Fund will operate as below:

Financial YearPhaseAction
2019/20 and 2020/21  Application process, budget allocation and projects’ completion phase The Ministry, assisted by an Assessment Panel, will make funding available to successful schools using its $5 million departmental capital allocation. Successful schools will need to complete their projects by the end of June 2021.
2021/22 and 2022/23 Monitoring phase  The Ministry will monitor the Fund’s implementation and measure its results from July 2021 to July 2023.
Funding rounds

Funding rounds

First round

The first round of funding opened on 6th November 2019 and closed on 31st January 2020. The first round resulted in 365 applications, 53 of which were successful.

List of successful applications for SCF - Round 1 [PDF, 218 KB]

Second round

The second (and final) round opened on 22 June 2020 and closed on the 3rd of August. There were 413 number of applications, 41 of which were successful.

List of successful applications for SCF – Round 2 [PDF, 172 KB]

No further funding round is planned.

Funding not guaranteed

Funding not guaranteed

While we truly appreciate the time and effort you put into your application, please be aware that the selection process is highly competitive and even high quality applications might not be selected for funding given the limited budget available and high number of applications.

Funding decision

Funding decision

Recommendations will be made by the Fund’s Assessment Panel made up of representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and the New Zealand School Trustees Association. These recommendations will be confirmed by a member of the Ministry’s Leadership Team. The Ministry does not endorse any particular supplier for any project funded by the Sustainability Contestable Fund.

Who can apply for the Fund?

Who can apply for the Fund?

Only state schools can apply for the Fund because it is funded from departmental capital which can only be spent on Crown-owned assets.

A school can apply to the second funding round if they are not successful in the first round.

What projects could be funded?

What projects could be funded?

The Fund will invest in assets that have a minimum value of $5,000. The value of most projects is expected to fall in the range of $5,000-$100,000. Projects that are valued at over $100,000 may be funded, but will need to provide a more compelling case than projects of lower value. 

Type of assets/projects that could be funded include:

  • Diesel, coal or gas boiler replacement
  • Replacement of inefficient heating systems
  • Power infrastructure upgrades to allow use of plant/appliances that use renewable energy sources
  • Recycling and/or waste reduction initiatives that require a capital investment such as the development of composting infrastructure
  • Water savings measures such as rainwater collection and low flow plumbing fittings
  • Solar electricity (photovoltaic) installations (with or without batteries)
  • Other property upgrades that will increase energy efficiency and resilience, reduce energy loss, reduce waste or reduce carbon emissions.
What projects cannot be funded?

What projects cannot be funded?

  • Any project that does not create an asset worth at least $5,000
  • Projects which can be funded through other Ministry’s initiatives or funding such as 5YA for a P1/P2 project (e.g. a double glazing project which is addressing a P1/P2 health and safety issue), School Investment Package (SIP), or the Improving classrooms in small or remote schools programme
  • Training and/or changes to operating practices, where no asset is created
  • Projects which are already underway or due to begin before the application round closes
  • Electric/hybrid vehicle purchase and/or EV charging infrastructure
  • Beautification projects
  • Projects related to the external environment, planting, landscaping etc.
  • Furniture and equipment
  • Projects that relate to buildings that are due for redevelopment or demolition.
Requirements for delivering funded projects

Requirements for delivering funded projects

Complete 5YA amendment

Successful schools will be required to complete a 10YPP amendment and/or 5YA variation to include the fund project into their 10-year property plan or 5YA agreement, if the project is not an existing one.

Compliance with Ministry’s standard procurement rules

If an application is successful, schools will have to comply with standard all-of-government procurement rules. For more information on the Ministry's procurement requirements, refer to the School property procurement framework.

School property procurement framework

Complete standard project management reports

Successful schools will be required to:

  • Carry out standard property project management governance and reporting, including providing the appropriate paperwork to their local office. This is required so formal project approval can be granted
  • Project management governance - Role of the board of trustees in school property projects
  • Appropriate paperwork - Role of the board of trustees in school property projects.

Covering ongoing costs

Schools will need to use existing funding to meet any ongoing costs as a result of the project, or where the project costs run over.

Schools are expected to contribute resources, in the form of time, to develop the proposals, procure any services needed, and oversee implementation.

Reporting requirements for successful schools

Reporting requirements for successful schools

Once the project has been completed, successful schools will be required to provide reporting with performance information about the funded asset until June 2023.

Schools will submit their performance reporting forms with any supporting information quarterly to the Sustainability Fund mailbox at SustainabilityFund@education.govt.nz.

If you have been funded for multiple projects, you must complete the appropriate form for each project, and submit these to the Ministry.

The reporting requirements are listed for each project type below.

Reporting datesComments
31 December 2020

This is the due date for the 1st quarterly report; schools with completed projects must submit their forms on or before this date. Schools should then submit reports by the timelines provided below.

Schools who have not completed their project by 31 December should submit their report following the completion of their project.

31 March 2021  
30 June 2021 All Fund projects should be completed by this date.
30 September 2021 All schools should submit their first performance report by this date at the latest.
31 December 2021  
31 March 2022  
30 June 2022  
30 September 2022  
31 December 2022  
31 March 2023  
30 June 2023 This is the final performance report required for Fund projects. 

Compost/recycling initiatives

What to submit: Completed Compost/Recycle Initiatives form

Compost/Recycling Initiatives form [XLSM, 2.9 MB]

  • Document the total weight of all the waste the school has put into the compost system.
  • This will be used to estimate the amount of greenhouse gas emissions being saved by not putting this waste into landfill.
  • If your project is or includes a recycling system, you will also need to include an estimate of the volume or weight of waste put into these systems.

Electricity Efficiency Initiatives

What to submit:  Completed Electricity Efficiency Initiatives form, and total electricity consumption for the 12 months prior to your project being completed

Electricity Efficiency Initiatives form [XLSM, 2.9 MB]

  • Submit your total electricity consumption for each quarter.
  • You will also need to submit this information for the 12 months prior to your project being completed.
  • If the Ministry has access to your electricity usage data, but you have changed electricity providers during the 12 months prior to your project’s completion, then you will need to submit electricity consumption for the period before switching providers, up to the 12-month period.
  • If you make any further infrastructure or operational changes which significantly impact your electricity consumption you should include details of these on your form. 

Other Fuel Efficiency Initiatives

What to submit: Completed Electricity Efficiency Initiatives form, and total fuel consumption for the previous fuel type for the 12 months prior to your project being completed

Electricity Efficiency Initiatives form [XLSM, 2.9 MB]

  • Submit your total new fuel consumption (fuel invoices can be used as an estimate of consumption) for each quarter.
  • Submit this information for the previous fuel type for the 12 months prior to your project being completed (this applies even where the old and new fuel types are the same).
  • If the new fuel type is electricity, and that was not the old fuel type, you will need to submit your electricity consumption date for the previous 12 months, in addition to the old fuel consumption.
  • If you have already given the Ministry permission to access your electricity usage data, this will not be necessary.
  • If the Ministry has access to your electricity usage data, but you have changed electricity providers during the 12 months before your project’s completion, then you will need to submit electricity consumption data for the period before switching providers, up to the 12-month period.
  • Please note that if you have only provided access to your school’s electricity data, you will still need to provide evidence of your consumption of any other fuels directly to SustainabilityFund@education.govt.nz.
  • If you make any further infrastructure or operational changes which significantly impact your fuel/electricity consumption, you should include details of these on your form.

Energy use and conservation in schools - permission to access your electricity usage data

Boiler Replacements

What to submit: Completed Boiler Replacement form, and total fuel consumption for the 12 months prior to replacing your boiler

Boiler Replacement form [XLSM, 2.9 MB]

  • Submit your new fuel source’s consumption data (fuel invoices can be used as an estimate of consumption) for each quarter.
  • Submit your previous fuel consumption for the 12 months before replacing your boiler.
  • If your new heating solution is electric and you have given the Ministry permission to access your electricity data, you only need to submit your previous 12 months of fuel consumption data.

Energy use and conservation in schools - permission to access your electricity usage data 

Solar Panels

What to submit: Completed Solar Panels form, and total electricity consumption for the quarter

Solar Panels form [XLSM, 2.9 MB]

  • Submit the total energy produced by your solar system (measured in kWh), and how much of that energy was exported to the grid (if any).
  • Submit your total electricity consumption for the quarter (unless you have already given the Ministry permission to access your electricity data), so that the proportion of energy usage provided by your solar panels can be calculated.
  • (Battery only) If you have used battery stored power to power your school in the last quarter, you should detail this on the form.

Energy use and conservation in schools - permission to access your electricity usage data

Rainwater Collection Tanks

What to submit: Completed Rainwater Collection form [XLSM, 2.9 MB]

Rainwater Collection form [XLSM, 2.9 MB]

  • Once your supplier is confirmed, you should inquire as to whether you can install an outflow meter onto the tank to record the water used.
  • If they can do this within the funding provided (including any contingency) this must be done.
  • If this would require additional funding beyond that granted by the Sustainability Fund, please contact SustainabilityFund@education.govt.nz.
  • Once installed this will record the water used from your collection tanks rather than mains water, this should be recorded on your form.
  • You should also record in the comments box, for what purpose(s) this water has been used.

Water Saving Measure

What to submit: Completed Water Saving Measure form, and total Water Consumption for the quarter 

Water Saving Measure form [XLSM, 2.9 MB]

  • Submit your total water consumption for the quarter.
  • Submit your water consumption for the 12 months before the completion of the project.
  • If your school’s water supply is not metered, please contact SustainabilityFund@education.govt.nz

Other projects not mentioned above (e.g. irrigation systems)

What to submit: Completed Other Project Types form for projects not mentioned above

Other Project Types form [XLSM, 2.9 MB]

  • These projects do not require submission of specific data.
  • You should include a description of the benefits created by the project.

If you have any queries about the Fund’s performance reporting requirements, please contact SustainabilityFund@education.govt.nz.

Solar energy proposals

Solar energy proposals 

We have received significant number of solar energy proposals in the first round and not all of those projects were granted funding. This is mainly because the Fund is designed to cover a range of initiatives with positive environmental outcomes and is not merely focusing on solar-related proposals.

Given the limited funding available and the competitive selection process, we encourage applications that can demonstrate tangible benefits to the curriculum in the form of innovative sustainable projects and learning opportunities.

When developing solar installation proposals, schools should ensure that the considerations provided in the Installation decision - Solar panels are referred to in their application. The application will also need to clearly outline how the proposed solar panel project will meet the Fund’s outcomes (As outlined in earlier sections of this page).

Installation decision - Solar panels

Notification of outcomes

Notification of outcomes

First round

Applications from 53 schools were successful for the first round of the SCF.

Second round

Applications from 41 schools were successful for the second round of the SCF.

List of successful applications for SCF- Round 1 [PDF, 218 KB]

List of successful applications for SCF – Round 2 [PDF, 172 KB]

The Ministry is contacting all schools applied for the second round directly via email and will provide them with the outcomes of their application and information on their performance reporting requirements.

Frequently asked questions

The following frequently asked questions relate to the Sustainability Contestable Fund application process. If you have any further questions please contact the Fund’s mailbox at SustainabilityFund@education.govt.nz or your Ministry Property Advisor. 

Applications

When do applications close?

Applications for the first and second (final) rounds of funding are now closed.  No further round of funding is planned.

Can I request my preferred supplier to carry out the work?

Any price provided (by quote or estimate) as part of the application may be used to set the amount of funding granted. 

Have any projects had priority for the funding?

Applications were considered on their specific merit, but a school’s geographical isolation was also taken into account. Projects less than $50,000 were also encouraged as they provide opportunity for more projects to be funded.

How will I know if I’ve been successful or not?

All applicants, whether successful or unsuccessful, will be notified by email after the Assessment Panel has made its funding recommendations and these have been approved by the Ministry.

Is there an appeals process if an application does not get funded in full or in part?

No. All decisions are final, there is no appeals process.

What are the next steps for successful schools?

Approved funding will be allocated to successful schools by the Ministry. Schools will need to comply with usual all-of-government procurement rules and project management processes. The Ministry will contact successful schools directly via email. This will include guidance on how to proceed with delivering their projects and information on their performance reporting requirements.

If schools have difficulty delivering the project or meeting their performance reporting requirements, they should contact the Fund mailbox at SustainabilityFund@education.govt.nz.

Budgeting & Cost Estimates

How much funding is available to successful projects per annum?

$2.5 million was allocated for each of the Fund’s funding rounds. 

Procurement process for school property projects - government procurement rules

Does the funding provided cover the project’s contingency budget and Project Manager Fees?

Yes. The funding applied for should have included the project’s contingency and any fees including those for Project Managers. No further funding will be provided towards the project beyond the initial application and grant of funding.

Who is responsible for meeting any ongoing costs associated with the project?

Any ongoing or incidental costs must be paid by the school. This includes where existing infrastructure is not suitable for the proposed project. Where a high likelihood of this occurring is identified, schools should have included what steps they have taken to investigate or prevent this, as part of their application.

Ownership of assets

Who will have ownership of the asset once completed?

The Ministry will retain complete ownership of any asset(s) created. Schools will be responsible for any ongoing maintenance, servicing costs, or costs associated with life cycle replacement.

More information

Who should we contact for information not covered by the Fund webpage or FAQs?

Please contact your Ministry Property Advisor or the Fund’s mailbox at SustainabilityFund@education.govt.nz.

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