Start exploring to find information on how electricity and heat are supplied, the impacts associated with its generation and consumption, how these impacts can be managed, what the University is doing to reduce its own energy consumption as well as helpful facts and tips to reduce your own energy consumption on campus and at home. Find out about our CHP Energy Centre and Heat Network, Solar PV sites, LED lighting projects as well The Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy, which undertakes research into renewable energy sources such as hydrogen generation and storage, solar harvesting, wind and marine energy and fusion technology.
This section provides you with information on how electricity and heat is supplied, the impacts associated with its generation and consumption, how these impacts can be managed, what the University is doing to manage its own energy use as well as helpful facts and tips to reduce your own energy consumption at the University.
The University has invested £19 million on the Heating and Infrastructure Project (HIP), which saw the construction of the Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP) and Energy Centre. The CHP uses gas to generate electricity for the University on site, and then captures the excess heat generated and distributes it into the district heating system for the University. This has enabled the University to secured savings of 7,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, a 13% reduction in the University’s carbon footprint. The Energy Centre allows the University to monitor the electricity and heat produced from the CHP, alongside that received from utility companies.
Since the installation of Combined Heat and Power Plant and Energy Centre in 2014, the University has significantly increased its generating capacity, with the collected CHP now generating nearly 90% of main campus electricity. Since 1986, when the University first started generating its own electricity, we have has generated just over half a billion kWh of electricity on campus. This equates to over 266,400 tonnes of carbon going into the atmosphere compared to direct import of electricity in that period.
In addition to onsite generation, the University continues to use the Salix and HEFCE Revolving Green Fund (RGF) in order to accelerate investment in energy efficiency technologies which will create financial savings and reduce carbon emissions further.
An investment of £120k on lighting projects and improvements to the Oliver Lodge Data Centre in 2017/18 has enabled an ongoing saving of over £20k and 65 tonnes of CO2e per annum.
During 2020/21, the University has done a lot of work to reduce energy consumption on campus, this includes:
- CHP Energy Centre and Heat Network at Greenbank Student Village
- Sequencing controls added to improve efficiency of standby boilers in main campus Energy Centre
- LED lighting replacements at Sydney Jones Library, Sports Centre
Future works will include expanding the LED lighting replacement scheme and implementing a heat meter replacement strategy to improve quality of energy analysis on campus.
The University hosts the first interdisciplinary centre dedicated to energy research in the North West - The Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy - which undertakes research into renewable energy sources such as hydrogen generation and storage, solar harvesting, wind and marine energy and fusion technology.
The University has 3 Solar PV sites located on the Engineering Building (block B), Foundation Building, and at Ness Gardens (as part of the weather station). Each site has the potential to save up to 20 tonnes of C02. Solar thermal panels are also proposed to be installed on south-facing roof areas of the Vine Court residences to supplement the domestic hot water demand thus reducing the gas loads.
Energy saving initiatives
Successful funding applications to Salix (Salix Finance provides interest-free Government funding to the public sector to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills) totaling nearly £4m, have enabled the University to invest heavily in technology that will reduce its carbon footprint and assist towards achieving the 36% carbon reduction target set to meet both HEFCE and national carbon reduction targets.
Major achievements include the new gas engine CHP plant, revised heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) operating profile and the automatic power-down software for computers. Recent projects include installation of voltage optimisers, draught proofing, building management system (BMS) upgrade, and installation double glazing to listed buildings.
Student switch off
Student switch off is an energy saving competition running between the halls of residence. Individual prizes are given out throughout the year to students who sign up to be Eco-power Rangers and participate in climate change quizzes and photo competitions via Facebook. As well as individual incentives, the best hall at the end of the year wins a celebratory party. The University has seen real energy savings in the Halls of residences, through the Student Switch Off campaign.
Race to Zero campaign
The University has made a pledge to the Race to Zero global campaign which aims to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. It mobilizes a coalition of leading net zero initiatives, representing 733 cities, 31 regions, 3,067 businesses, 173 of the biggest investors, and 622 Higher Education Institutions. These ‘real economy’ actors join 120 countries in the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
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