The University is committed to becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2030. Read our blog on what Net Zero means for Reading. Here is a selection of the type of projects we undertake to ensure we meet our carbon reduction commitments. Hover over a photo to read about what we're doing. If you would like additional information on any of the projects below or a more comprehensive list of all our projects, do feel free to email us.
Grant Funding Upgrades
Pleased to announce that we have now completed the energy saving measurements from our first Salix grant-funded project – upgrading the existing lab drying ovens in operation across our Whiteknights campus. Drying ovens are typically used to dry a variety of equipment including glassware (test tubes, etc.) and instruments but they can also be used for general purpose warming. The upgrades have produced better energy savings than predicted.
Water Source Heat Pump
We are currently exploring the potential for an innovative water source heat pump at our Greenlands campus. This would transfer heat from the river Thames into the buildings, reducing the need for oil fired boilers. It's an exciting project but complicated due to many planning, heritage and environmental considerations.
Compressors in Chemistry and Harry Nursten have been replaced for more efficient, variable speed equivalents. This is delivering annual savings of 66 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and delivering a payback on the investment in just 3.7 years.
In 2021 - 22 upgrades of approximately 4,800 light fittings to LED across three campuses, targeting savings of 226 tCO2 and 890,000 kWh per annum.
In order to understand where and when we use energy, it is essential that we have reliable metering in place. Nearly all our buildings now have half hourly energy data which helps us decide what projects to undertake and review how much they actually save. Click this box to explore our energy data in a new window.
We are working closely with IT Services to review our IT infrastructure and ensure we are looking after our equipment in an efficient and effective way. IT has been working on a major upgrade and rationalisation of the central servers, which is delivering measured savings equivalent to 321,000 kWh and 99 tCO2 over the whole year.
Our ambitious solar panel extension project saw the doubling of Whiteknights solar PV generation capacity to 1 MW. Installations were completed on 7 further buildings, totalling 450 kWp (Whiteknights total = 998 kWp), predicted to generate 395,482 kWh electricity each year, saving £134,000 (at 2022/23 prices) and 91 tCO2 annually. This is equivalent to removing the electricity consumption of circa 136 houses from the grid.
Subject to a successful grant funding bid, begin implementation of our first heat decarbonisation retrofit project, in the SportsPark, to replace its ageing gas boilers with low carbon air source heat pumps, targeting annual savings of 489,735 kWh and 121 tCO2.
Decarbonising the Heating Network
Progress plans for decarbonising the central Whiteknights Energy Centre, developing designs and a funding bid for full decarbonisation of the heating supply to multiple buildings across the campus over the next 3 years.
We have upgraded our fume cupboard ventilation systems across our estate to deliver significant annual energy savings, of 1,110 tCO2 and £316,680 (at 2016 rates), 17% better than we originally predicted! This project is one of the single largest contributors to reducing our carbon footprint, and has won several national sustainability awards. Watch our video at the bottom of this page for a quick overview
We are constantly developing our heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to improve comfort and save energy. We've installed modern sensors and controllers, optimised start and stop times.
Behaviour & Awareness
We have launched the Our Future First initiative which is the University’s sustainable behaviours programme which will embed sustainability into our culture, with everyone playing their part to create collective, positive change for our community and our planet.