University celebrates 10-year anniversary of energy efficiency initiatives set to save £12.3 million
The University of St Andrews is celebrating 10 years of energy-saving initiatives, which it says have drastically reduced its carbon emissions and energy bills by millions of pounds.
Over the last decade, the University has implemented more than 150 individual energy reduction projects across its estate which are expected to reduce the university’s carbon output by around 5,300 tonnes* and to save an estimated £960,000 annually in energy bills.
The energy improvements, which were made possible with the help of an interest-free loan from independent Government-funded organisation Salix Finance as part of its Revolving Green Fund, will help the University achieve its plans to become the UK’s first carbon neutral university for energy use in buildings.
The recycling fund has helped the University to invest nearly £4 million into energy efficient technologies, including over 50 insulation installations, lighting upgrades, 27 boiler improvements and 10 building management systems (BMS), as well as motor controls and combined heat and power plant installations.
The University has also put £280,000 of Salix funding toward energy efficiency projects within its award-winning data centre, for free cooling, virtualisation and a high efficiency uninterruptable power supply.
The University of St Andrews was the first public sector organisation to achieve the CEEDA (Certified Energy Efficient Data Centre Award) Gold Award for its Butts Wynd Data Centre by the British Computing Society (BCS) in 2012. An organisation has to undergo an audit every two years to stay accredited to the standard. The University has successfully retained the CEEDA Gold Award for energy efficiency across all areas of its Data Centre and remains the only public sector organisation in the world to hold the Gold standard.
More recently, the University has been using the fund to install LED lighting across several buildings. As well as significant financial and carbon savings, the lighting, heating and energy management technologies will have greater lifespans than the previous systems and will lead to an improvement in the learning environments for both staff and students.
In total, the upgrades are expected to generate approximately £12.3 million worth of savings over the lifetime of the initiatives – the largest saving of any Salix recycling fund in Scotland and the second largest across the UK.
David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager at the University, said: “The University is committed to optimising its energy efficiency and reducing the amount of energy that it uses. Over the past ten years, we have installed a range of energy efficiency measures in order to achieve this goal, and have seen great energy reductions from such measures, which have notably improved comfort levels and the university’s appeal to both current and prospective students and staff.
“We have hugely appreciated the support from Salix. The fund has been transformational and without it, these robust energy saving projects would not have gone ahead. Not only has the funding been vital but the providers have also been a source of clear and useful guidance and we would recommend them to any organisations with limited budgets looking to invest in large scale energy efficiency work.”
The Salix recycling fund is designed to increase investment in energy efficient technologies across the public sector by providing capital which is then matched by the public sector organisation. Any financial savings achieved by the initiatives are then returned back in to the fund to be used for further energy saving projects.
Salix is also currently supporting public sector organisations in Scotland with the opportunity to open new recycling funds.
*Calculated using emissions factors published by government for carbon footprinting.