Decarbonising the University SportsPark
23 May 2023
A low-carbon heating system will be installed at the University of Reading SportsPark, thanks to a significant grant award.
The University successfully secured the grant of £865,000 from the latest round of the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund. The scheme, initiated by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero is delivered by Salix Finance. The scheme focuses on funding the replacement of end-of-life fossil fuel heating systems with low-carbon alternatives.
The SportsPark’s current boilers are between 15-30 years old, making them an ideal target for funding. Subject to planning permission, the £1.9 million scheme will see these boilers replaced with air source heat pumps. This will enable the gas supplies to be stripped out from the building, reducing its carbon emissions by 86 tonnes per year and improving local air quality.
The project is anticipated to save around £83,000 on the building’s energy bills in the first year alone, with further savings in the future once the SportsPark Pavilion is connected to the new system.
Dan Fernbank, Energy & Sustainability Director at the University of Reading, said: “This is an important step in the University’s commitment to becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2030. These heat pumps, combined with the large solar panel array that was installed through a previous Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme grant, puts the SportsPark on course to become one of our lowest carbon buildings on campus.”
Ian Rodger, Director of Programmes at Salix Finance, said: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Reading as it moves further forward on its decarbonisation journey.
“The University SportsPark currently houses very old gas boilers which will be replaced with the air source heat pumps. This means the University can significantly reduce its carbon emissions and help work towards its ambitious 2030 net zero targets.”
An external compound is required to house the air source heat pumps. The proposed location of this is next to the SportsPark Pavilion, with a small underground heating network connecting it back to the main SportsPark building. The compound will be designed sympathetically to fit with the SportsPark Pavilion.
The University will submit a planning application to Reading Borough Council and engage with the Council and local residents on the project.
Subject to planning permission being granted, work to install the new air source heat pump system will begin in late summer/autumn 2023.