Higher education is a jewel in the UK crown - but today’s global audience for higher education demands more than just a top-class degree – it expects action on climate change and it expects it now.
Universities are in the vanguard of the UK’s response to climate change. The sector as a whole is actively and urgently working to decarbonise, and there is growing concern that carbon reduction goals cannot be met if gas is burned for heat.
Recent electricity grid decarbonisation means heat pump based systems are the obvious choice for reducing reliance on gas boilers and CHP, delivering dramatic reductions in overall energy consumption and carbon emissions in new-builds and retro-fits.
Geo-exchange heat pump systems capture and store waste heat, using the ground as a thermal energy battery. A cooling system in one building can provide heat to be used later (in the day or the year) by neighbouring buildings – an approach especially well-suited to campus environments.
Black Mountain, the licence holder for Erda technology in the UK, has worked with universities throughout Britain to build a pipeline with combined savings of around 6,000 tonnes of CO2e per year.
The prospect of RHI income has been a vital element in the commercial viability of the vast majority of customer projects undertaken to date, ranging from the low carbon heating and cooling of new faculty buildings to the replacement of gas fired systems with heat pumps using waste heat recovered from data centres.
There is no question that by returning to a long-term policy environment designed to support the commercial deployment of heat pumps, the UK government would trigger an immediate and exponential increase in heat decarbonisation projects at UK universities.