Improving energy use on campus

Posted on: 29 November 2022 in Issue 4

The University of Liverpool Energy Company (ULEC) are launching an Energy Audit in December 2022 to help us understand where and how we could make our buildings more energy efficient. Energy & Sustainability Consultant, Rory Baker, who is managing this crucial project, explains.

What is an Energy Audit?

"The primary reason for undertaking the Energy Audit is to understand the amount of energy used by each building in the University’s estate and identify where energy saving measures - or ECMs - can be implemented,” explains Rory. “We can then use the data to understand how energy used by the buildings - for example as heating - may be impacted by the current fabric of the building, such as single glazed windows.”

Rory continues: “If we can identify and take steps to action these ECMs now, it will reduce our baseload – the amount energy needed to power and heat buildings when they are not in use - and make the transition to low and Zero Carbon technologies easier as less energy will be needed.”

How does the energy audit work?

“It’s a pretty standard exercise for all large organisations,” says Rory. “You usually begin with a desk-based exercise, mapping out the different assets and buildings, before surveying each of the different buildings’ energy usage, and suggesting various ECMs for any issues that arise.” In terms of the University, Rory explains that there are “upwards of 200 buildings that are due to be surveyed, and the process will take around 10 months from start to finish”.

Work is due to start in December 2022, following the completion of a tender process to secure a consultant to manage the audit.

Data matters

“If we take a library, as an example, the consultant will inspect the building and record their findings via an excel spreadsheet. This would include specific data on the energy consumed by the building across a period of time, but they would also look for things like the types of windows the library has, if the building has cavity wall insultation, loft insulation and even the types of lights used in the building,” Rory explains.

The consultant would then create a bespoke report for the individual building and the data would be used to inform the energy saving actions to be taken by the University: “Simply put, this would look a bit like a shopping list of energy saving approaches, with a cost attributed to each. If a common issue was identified across multiple buildings, such as fluorescent lighting rather than the more energy efficient LED alternative, the University could look to implement these new changes across the campus,” adds Rory.

Prioritising improvements

“The University has a range of different building ages and types, all of which will have varying energy savings measures which could be implemented,” continues Rory. “On certain poorly performing buildings, the number of measures could be extensive. For example, improving building fabric through insulation, upgrading windows and also internal measures such as LED lighting or upgrading IT equipment.”

The diversity and age of the University’s estate presents a range of different problems and opportunities for improving energy efficiency, as Rory explains. “A number of buildings are listed and therefore the extent to which these ECMs can be implemented will be restricted,” he says. “Contrastingly, the University’s more modern buildings may require less ECMs but that does not mean we won’t find potential savings. The hope is that by early 2023 we will have fully mapped out our campus and its energy infrastructure, enabling us to prioritise and improve the impact of our energy saving measures.”

Find out more:

Visit this website to find out more about how the University is working to become more energy efficient.