Grant to help decarbonise University's heating systems
20 January 2022
The University of Reading has been awarded a £100,000 grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to take the first steps towards decarbonising the heating of Whiteknights campus buildings.
The grant is awarded from BEIS' Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) and will be match funded by the University. The money will be used to support design work to introduce a large heat pump into the University's existing Whiteknights Energy Centre.
The Energy Centre, which opened in 2015, provides heating to 16 buildings on the Whiteknights campus, through a 3.3 km underground district heating network. The Energy Centre's original design included space for the introduction of additional low carbon technology in the future.
The introduction of a 1.1 megawatt heat pump could provide up to 40% of the Energy Centre's heat output each year, cutting carbon emissions by over 12,000 tonnes of CO2 cumulatively by 2030. This will be complemented by a series of initiatives to reduce heating demand in the University's buildings, such as insulation and control system improvements, to ensure maximum benefits can be realised.
The development of a small district cooling network will also be considered, to provide the cooling needs of the University's science buildings. This will help boost the efficiency and overall cost effectiveness of the scheme, as well as helping to further reduce carbon emissions.
Dan Fernbank, Energy and Sustainability Director at the University said: "Decarbonising our heating systems is a key part of our plans toreach net zero carbon by 2030. This grant will enable us to progress a very significant opportunity to begin decarbonising our campus heating, setting us on the right path for the years ahead."
This is the fifth major grant the University has secured since November 2020 in pursuit of its Net Zero Carbon goal for 2030. A further-BEIS funded project through Salix Finance is currently looking at opportunities to replace gas heating on the Earley Gate side of Whiteknights campus with low carbon alternatives.
To find out more about what the University is doing to reduce its carbon emissions, visit https://sites.reading.ac.uk/sustainability/