Installing solar panels – are they worth it?

Opinion: Dan Fernbank, Energy & Sustainability Director With energy prices skyrocketing, I find myself increasingly being asked whether solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are good investments at home.  There is no one answer to this question, but set out below are my suggestions of points to consider. The roof Firstly, do you own your home?  If you live in a flat, it is likely to be leasehold and so any roof installation would need the permission of the landlord. Assuming you have the right to install a PV system, your roof needs to be between east and west facing – ideally…
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Delivering Net Zero Carbon – FAQs

This blog follows up a recent all-staff presentation on the University's Net Zero Carbon strategy, aiming to address the key questions raised. Active travel The University has invested over £500,000 in improved on-campus pedestrian and cycling facilities over the last 5 years, but we recognise that many of the barriers to more active travel lie outside of our boundaries.  We do actively engage with the local councils, have supported the installation of a much-needed pedestrian crossing on Pepper Lane and have committed our support for a crossing on Upper Redlands Road too. Reading Borough Council currently has a live consultation…
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Grant funding award for Earley Gate decarbonisation study

The University has recently been awarded a £50,000 grant from Phase 2 of Salix Finance’s Low Carbon Skills Fund (LCSF2) to undertake a heat decarbonisation study for the Earley Gate side of the Whiteknights campus. Funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the LCSF2 is specifically focused on helping the public sector make plans for how they can decarbonise their heating systems in the years ahead.  The University’s Net Zero Carbon Plan commits it to full decarbonisation of its heating systems by 2030 and with all of the buildings on Earley Gate currently heated with gas…
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Fridge freezer upgrades completed

We are pleased to publish details of a further two Salix grant-funded projects which we have now completed the energy saving measurements for. Over several weeks during spring 2021, a large number of lab refrigeration units at Whiteknights campus were replaced. These included refrigeration units, non-ultra-low temperature freezers (-20°C) and ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers (-80°C). Each project has produced good energy savings, with a combined total annual saving of £ 5,450 per year and 8.3 tonnes CO2 per year. Why were the refrigeration units upgraded? Most of the refrigeration units were aging and inefficient, using excess electricity and resulting in…
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First Salix grant-funded project complete!

We are 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, and we can expect this project to have a payback period of 5 years. Why were the lab drying ovens upgraded? Most of the previous drying ovens in operation were…
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In defence of ‘Net Zero’ Carbon

“Net zero carbon" seems to be the new catch phrase in discussions on climate change action, but what does it mean, and is it just green wash? It's fair to say there are different interpretations of what 'net zero' means, and some frankly dubious claims being made about appropriate pathways to net zero. That said, there are good guidelines available which set boundaries and standards for robust net Zero plans, such as PAS 2060 and the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The University sees Net Zero Carbon as meaning: Cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as little as possible and then…
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35% carbon reduction – we’re nearly halfway there!

We're almost halfway to achieving our 35% carbon reduction target, just 2 years into our 5 year Carbon Management Plan!  Already, we've made a 16.5% reduction against our baseline emissions, which has saved £3.9m and 11,137 tonnes of CO2 over the last 2 years, for an initial project investment of just over £1m. We reduced our emissions by 6.9% against our baseline in 2011/12, building on a 9.6% reduction the previous year.   Our carbon footprint includes a range of emissions, from heating fuel and electricity, to waste, water and transport.  As our understanding develops, we will continue to target reductions across all…
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Carbon Management Projects

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.
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Key Staff and Committees

The University has a dedicated team to manage sustainability across our campus. In addition, a number of groups, committees and senior management staff have sustainability responsibilities as detailed below (hover over the staff pictures for information on their experience and responsibilities). Progress against our sustainability objectives/strategy is reported to the Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC), and to the University Executive Board (via ESC), through our annual Environmental Sustainability Report. Sustainability Staff Sustainability Groups and Committees Environmental Management Review Group (EMRG) This group is responsible for reviewing the Environment & Energy Management System (EEMS) and supporting the implementation of the system to…
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Energy & Water

We source 100% of our electricity from REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin) certified sources.  Explore more here:
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