Scotland's colleges and universities are to share in a �4 million fund targeted at making them more energy efficient, it was announced today. The �20 million Central Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF) for Local Authorities, NHS Boards and Scottish Water has now been extended to cover Scotland's 59 further and higher education institutions.

Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen said: "The need to save energy is more important than ever before. "In 2004 we introduced measures to cut energy use throughout the public sector. The Central Energy Efficiency Fund has enabled all our Local Authorities, NHS Boards and Scottish Water to invest in projects which reduce carbon emissions and save money.

"Evaluation of the Local Authority schemes tells us that great progress is being made. The 537 council projects in place now will achieve lifetime savings of £100 million and 80,000 tonnes of carbon. That is equivalent to the annual emissions from every household in a town twice the size of Perth.

"Today's new funding of £4 million will allow Scottish further and higher education institutions to invest in measures to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their energy costs." Roger McClure, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council added: "This timely and very welcome injection of funds will enable college and university energy efficiency strategies to be speeded up. It is vital that our places of learning not only teach environmental sustainability, but also set an example to their students by living it too."

In 2004, the Executive announced the launch of a new Public Sector initiative called the Central Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF). Under this initiative £20 million was provided over 2004-05 and 2005-06 to implement energy efficiency measures which will reduce carbon emissions across the public sector in Scotland. This scheme covers all local authorities, NHS Trusts and Scottish Water.

A recent evaluation of the local authority part of the scheme confirmed that it is successful, achieving large carbon and financial savings from completed projects. The Executive plans to publish the findings of the report in the next few weeks.