Representatives of the University of Winchester hosted a tour of their facilities to demonstrate the significant amount of work they have carried out to reduce their energy requirements and reduce their carbon emissions.

The University has been a long-time supporter of WinACC and was one of the first signatories to the Winchester Declaration on Climate Change and members of WinACC, along with signatories to the Winchester Declaration were among the audience for this tour. The University has set itself a target to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% per square metre of the estate by 2015.

During the visit, Mat Jane, the Energy and Environment Manager highlighted many of the new low-energy light

fittings and the different types of lighting which have been installed by the University which have significantly reduced the energy requirement whilst in many cases increasing light levels and enhancing the colour of the light. This was notably the case in the sports hall where the improved lighting has increased visibility for many sports whilst reducing the energy requirement by around 50%.

Mat also explained about the University's waste management strategy which has increased recycling rates to 56% up from 14% in January 2009. The University now has a mixed recycling scheme in place for all recyclables including paper, cardboard, mixed plastics, glass and cans. Food waste generated in the University catering department will shortly be collected and taken to a composting or anaerobic digestion plant. The university has set itself a target of reducing waste sent to landfill by 70% by the end of 2011.
Work has also started on replacing old boilers, some of which were oil fired, with more efficient gas condensing boilers. Effective pipe insulation has been installed in all the boiler rooms and some infra-red photographs of before and after installation provided visual evidence of its effectiveness. Furthermore a programme of loft and cavity insulation has been undertaken in many of the buildings on the campus.

More than £400,000 has been spent on energy efficiency measures at the University in the last twelve months but in energy terms alone, this outlay will be recouped in around 3 years. When reduced maintenance costs are taken into account, the payback period will be much less than this.

The new performing arts building, completed in 2009, had to meet a very stiff brief in terms of energy demand and sound proofing and the design and construction made use of natural ventilation and the building structure to retain heat and to absorb sound efficiently. The students and staff using the building are universally pleased with the outcome. A green wall has also been installed to increase biodiversity on the site.

Of great interest was the new lighting within the University chapel where some very high-powered floodlights that were used to light the interior of the roof had been replaced by much lower-energy LED floodlights now used to light the space at ground level. The superb timber roof has been accented with a smaller number of LED spotlights. The work done in this building has resulted in a 98% reduction in electricity consumption and carbon emissions!

Mat Jane said: “Many students are now considering a University’s environmental performance as an important factor when choosing their University, so it is important that we are seen to be doing the right thing by reducing our carbon emissions. The work being carried out and the attitude of the student body means that Winchester is quickly becoming the destination of choice for many of them. In addition, many courses now include aspects of sustainability within the taught programmes, making sure that the current generation of students take sustainability with them into whatever career they choose.”

The University is now beginning to look beyond simple energy-saving projects to more sustainable forms of heating and energy generation, with feasibility studies being undertaken for a new district heating system, with either a Combined Heat and Power plant or a Biomass boiler as the heat source. In addition, the external areas of the estate are being investigated to determine what work needs to be undertaken to enhance the biodiversity of the entire site.

 

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