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Carbon reduction updates – science buildings, RUSU, solar panels

We have a whole range of carbon reduction initiatives currently underway across the University.  Here’s a flavour of what’s we’re working on:

Science building energy efficiency surveys

Last year’s estate-wide Energy Review highlighted just how energy-hungry our science buildings are, and over the last couple of months, consultants have been carrying out investment-grade audits of the Chemistry, Food Biosciences and Hopkins building.  A number of low-cost, high energy saving opportunities for improvement have been identified, which we implement by July, including:

  • Improved control to heating in all 3 buildings, to make better use of the existing capabilities of the building management system (BMS)
  • Efficiency improvements to the compressed air systems used in some laboratories
  • Replacing worn chiller insulation

Potential opportunities to upgrade the lighting throughout the Chemistry and Food Biosciences buildings are also being considered.

Collectively, this work is anticipated to save 143 tCO2 and £39,000 annually.

Fume cupboard efficiency improvements

Staying with science buildings, contractors have been appointed to rollout energy efficiency improvements to fume cupboards right across campus.  This builds on 2014’s award winning pilot project and will see £1 million invested by December 2016 in an energy efficiency overhaul of the fume cupboards; with a £500,000 interest-free loan from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) matched-funded by the University.

Once complete, annual savings of £260,000 and 750 tCO2 are anticipated.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels

We are progressing plans to install up to 1 MW of solar PV panels across the University’s estate, which will save 490 tCO2 each year.  We are planning to establish a dedicated community benefit organisation, which will own and maintain the panels, selling the generated electricity to the University and at the same time, generating surplus funds which will be used to support a range of sustainability initiatives in the local area.

Detailed survey work is well underway, and more details on the scheme, including how you may invest in it and the benefits of doing so, will follow in the coming weeks.

RUSU energy efficiency improvements

Two projects in the Reading University Students’ Union building are expected to save a total of £14,000 and 75 tCO2 each year.  The first project will see the corridor lighting and Mojo’s bar lighting upgraded, whilst the second will re-design the Mojo’s cellar, so that only half the space needs to be chilled.

In addition, as part of the current Café Mondial extension project, consequential improvements required for planning permission will see efficient double-glazed windows installed in Mojo’s.

Further information

 As always, further information is available at cleanandgreen, or email us directly at or on twitter UniRdg_Sust

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