Universities ‘could save £2.2bn on energy bills by 2035’

Universities 'could save £2.2bn on energy bills by 2035' - Birmingham Uni

UK universities could reduce energy bills by £146m a year if they upgrade outdated energy systems, according to new research released by Centrica Business Solutions. The saving, which amounts to £2.19bn over a typical 15-year energy contract, is identified in a new study that aims to assess the economic opportunity of public sector organisations adopting green technology. The Powering Britain’s Public Sector report found that if just half of the UK’s 106 universities updated their energy systems – by deploying technology like combined heat and power units, battery storage and solar panels – it would reduce annual energy costs by more than a third (36%), enough to pay the salaries of more than 3,700 lecturers. The adoption of new energy technology would also deliver an annual emissions saving of 160,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, around eight per cent of the sector’s current carbon footprint and the equivalent of taking 105,000 cars off the road. The carbon reduction savings could be doubled with the injection of around 20% green gas – a type of gas created from biodegradable material – into the fuel mix. The new report examines the impact that the adoption of distributed energy technology would have on the university, healthcare and defence sectors. Distributed energy solutions are designed to help organisations take control of their energy, so that it’s produced and managed at the point of use, often independent of the grid.  Combined, the three public sector estates are responsible for more than 7.8m tonnes of carbon emissions each year and have been challenged by the Government to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020/21, and hit net zero by 2050.  Alan Barlow, Director of UK and Ireland for Centrica Business Solutions, said: “Powering Britain’s universities costs in the region of £400m every year. Such public expenditure has come into sharp focus over the last decade, alongside ambitious goals to reduce its carbon footprint. “Those institutions that seize the initiative and adopt new energy technology will not only create savings on their energy bills and reduce their carbon emissions but will also establish a competitive edge over those who don’t.” Centrica aims to deliver £300m in energy efficiency savings for the public sector and essential services globally by 2030, as part of its responsible business ambitions. To help the public sector implement the necessary energy technology changes, Centrica has made a series of recommendations to government, including the simplification of procurement frameworks and a stable and long-term regulatory environment. Case study: The University of Birmingham The University of Birmingham campus is used by more than 30,000 staff and students and is, by nature, energy intensive. To help reduce its energy bills, improve resilience and bring down carbon emissions, a 4.4 MW combined heat and power unit (CHP) was installed to generate energy and heat directly on campus. A further five CHPs were fitted shortly after. CHP technology works by converting gas into both electricity and heat in a single process. It’s one of the most efficient sources of energy production and allows an organisation to produce a significant amount of its energy on-site – improving the resilience of supply and reducing costs. Since the adoption of the CHPs, the university has saved £1.8m on its energy bills and generated 10 million kWH of energy on-site. Since 2016, the university has also been participating in the Capacity Market, which allows it to sell any excess energy generated on-site back to the grid, creating a new income stream for the organisation. To read the Powering Britain’s Public Sector report in full, click here centrica.com

Energys Group say MATs will cut £190,000 off energy bills

An Energys Group project

Energys Group won a competitive tender, worth over £1.7million, to manufacture, supply and install LED lighting to 12 Academies for two Academy Trusts. The Ormiston Academies Trust and Brooke Weston Trust are sponsors of primary and secondary academies. As educational trusts, their aims are for all young people to have access to the highest academic, social and practical skills required to achieve their full potential, whether going on to study at a leading university or entering the world of work. The opportunity With Brooke Weston and Ormiston Trusts spending over £2.7 million a year on energy and needing to spend over £1 million on lighting replacement over the next 5 years, both Trusts urgently needed to put in place energy efficiency programmes which would achieve a number of priorities: reduce the trusts’ energy bills; address the challenge of lighting conditions; reduce the environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions from the trusts’ estates and deliver a procurement model and benchmark data which would allow the project to be replicated by other Multi-Academy Trusts. The academies within each trust which were part of the project all had old, inefficient lighting throughout their properties, mainly consisting of T8 fluorescent fittings without lighting controls, and also had poor Emergency lighting provision; this needed to be upgraded as part of the scheme, to be fully compliant with BS5266.1.  The entire upgrade programme was funded by the Department for Education MAT (Multi-Academy Trust) Loans Pilot Project and was designed to maximize the benefits of new, energy-efficient lighting and ensure the Academies were fully compliant with emergency lighting regulations. The approach Structured framework Energy saving upgrades in public sector buildings are frequently only achievable with the assistance of Government funding. The key funding available for educational establishments is the Salix scheme.  In May 2017, the Education and Skills Funding Agency launched a MAT Loans Pilot project, to analyse whether interlinking MATs could enable collaborative working to achieve long-term benefits for their estates. The project saw EO Consulting bring together the two trusts on a project to investigate the long-term strategic difference this approach had on their estates. Energys Group was successful with its tender bid, awarded in June 2017 through the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO) framework, to manufacture, supply and install over 15,000 LED light fittings to 12 Academies in the Group, awarded on a mix of price, technical specification, quality and ability to deliver on a very tight timescale. Tight deadlines & no disruption Following the award of the tender each site had a full lighting survey carried out, and proposals were submitted over a two week period to the end of June 2017. A full programme of works upgrading the LED Lighting was commenced in July and completed by November 2017. Where possible, the work was carried out in the summer break or during out of hours in term-time, resulting in no disruption to the operation of the Academies. Proven efficiency A range of Energys Group’s New Vision LED Panels, linear LED, downlights, wall-lights, floodlights, high bays and streetlights was installed. Over 15,000 light fittings were upgraded to LED across the project. The majority of fittings incorporated individual occupancy and daylight harvesting sensors to maximize the potential energy savings. A 10-year warranty was provided on all fittings. Massive energy savings across the 12 Academies are being delivered, amounting to 1.7 million kWh per annum, and equating to £190,000 per annum savings, based on a rate of a minimum of 10.5p per kWh. Useful lessons The pilot project has provided invaluable lessons for the Trusts themselves, EO Consulting and Energys Group across a wide-range of outcomes, including delivering greater energy savings than initially forecast, longer-term warranties, and provided proof that frameworks make the process cost-effective, repeatable and scalable. Matt Isherwood, Brooke Weston Trust’s estates director, said: “This is the first project of its kind where two Academy Trusts have joined forces to submit a joint funding and installation bid, enabling us to get better deals from suppliers as we had more buying power when compared to a single trust. “The project has been so successful that it could be replicated across other multi-academy trusts and we outlined the process, benefits and savings at the Trust Network Conference in April, attended by delegates from more than 100 multi-academy trusts.” Commenting on the project, Kevin Cox Managing Director, Energys Group said, “This was a major, multi-site project for us; one with very tight deadlines and exacting specifications in order to fulfil the requirements of the individual Academies and those of the funding body. The team did a superb job and many of the lessons learned will stand us in good stead for future multi-site, multi-Academy projects.” For more information, see the Energys Group website here.