Equans has supported Northumbria University to reduce its carbon footprint thanks to a successful application through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) which freed up funding to deliver and install a high-tech heating system.
Northumbria University was allocated £2m to replace inefficient gas boilers on campus, with state-of-the art Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs); which have been placed on the roof of two key buildings as part of a multi-million pound project.
The ASHPs are a more environmentally-friendly way of heating buildings as they take warmth from the air – even in freezing temperatures – to provide heating to the dozens of lecture theatres, offices, cafes and other facilities within the buildings found in the heart of Newcastle City Centre, which are home to Newcastle Business School, Northumbria Law School and Northumbria School of Design.
As well cutting the emissions of the campus, the heat pumps will be a key tool for the university’s students, who can use the live data generated on building and heating performance to support their degree studies.
Tim Wood, Director of Sustainability for Equans UK & Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Northumbria University in helping to decarbonise its City Campus. By switching from an old, inefficient, gas system to modern Air Source Heat Pumps, the university is reducing its overall carbon footprint, and playing a major role in supporting the Net Zero ambitions of the city of Newcastle.
“By working closely together, this project was delivered quickly and safely, with minimal disruption to students or staff at the university. Hopefully, this will be the start of other large organisations looking into how to reduce their carbon footprints too.”
The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and delivered by Salix Finance, which supports energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects within the public sector.
Equans also worked closely with Clade Engineering Services, the UK based manufacturer of the ASHPs, from the early stages of the project to ensure the most efficient design and natural refrigerant heat pump solution was utilised – ensuring the university had its needs met.
Professor George Marston, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Projects and Sustainability lead for Northumbria, said: “The University Strategy states our commitment to optimising our contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through research, teaching, campus and operations, and we’re proud to have achieved a 58% carbon reduction in the past five years.
“The installation of Air Source Heat Pumps is the next step in our journey towards Net Zero Carbon. The speed and skill of the installation is a credit to the professionalism of the whole Equans team who have supported us to successfully deliver this project.
“Our Environmental Sustainability Policy considers the impact the University’s activities have on the wider environment and aims to minimise this impact wherever possible. The policy is reviewed and updated regularly to ensure we can continue to work towards our ambitious targets in areas such as energy and water use and emissions.
“We were thrilled to see our sustainability efforts recognised so positively through People & Planet’s University League for 2021. We were delighted to be ranked so highly, both within the top 20 in the UK overall, and as the best university in the North East region.”
Kirsty Adamson, Salix Finance’s programme manager, said: “Salix Finance is very pleased to be supporting Northumbria University’s transition to low carbon heating through the installation of air source heat pumps on the rooftops of two of their key buildings in the city centre. It’s been a pleasure working with the university who have been particularly energetic in tackling one of the most difficult challenges we face in achieving net zero – how to decarbonise our heating systems. We hope the changes will provide an even better working and learning experience for staff and students alike.”