Portland Square Building 
The University of Plymouth has been awarded Government funding to help it create a sustainable heating system for one of the largest buildings on its campus.
Work is already underway to provide a new and more efficient source of heating for the Portland Square Building, which will replace the system installed when the facility was built in the early 2000s.
The project will deliver new low carbon technologies including air and water source heat pumps, new heating controls and upgrades to the existing electrical infrastructure in an ambitious programme to support the University’s commitment to reduce its dependency on carbon fuel sources and reduce its emissions.
Heat rejected from cooling equipment will also be used to further improve efficiencies and additional solar panels will also be installed on the roof of the building, increasing the amount of clean energy being generated across the estate.
The project will involve an investment of around £2.2million, including a grant of more than £240,000 from the government’s Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES).
It is envisaged it could result in annual carbon saving in excess of 75,429kg of CO2.

This project will significantly reduce the University’s carbon footprint, in line with our overall decarbonisation plan. Since Portland Square opened in 2002, there have been major advances in the technology we can use to heat our buildings. Now is the right time to install that, furthering our commitment to increasing efficiency across our campus and improving the experiences of the thousands of students and staff who use the building each week.

Brad Crocker
Head of Building and Engineering 
In 2023, the University was verified carbon neutral in further recognition of its pioneering efforts in net zero innovation, research and teaching.
The awarding of PAS2060 verification, an independent and internationally recognised standard for carbon neutrality, acknowledged the University’s ongoing work to reduce the carbon impact of its campuses and operations.
This new system will continue its drive towards net zero, advancing the University’s long-held ambition to deliver significant reductions in the carbon generated by its heating system.
The Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES) provides funding to public, private and third sector applicants in England and Wales to support improvements to existing district heating or communal heating projects that are operating sub-optimally and resulting in poor outcomes for customers and operators.

Everyone – from families and hospital patients to students and public sector workers – should be able to receive a reliable heating and hot water supply. The UK is a world leader when it comes to cutting carbon emissions and while we are committed to funding new, greener heat networks, we also need to update our inefficient systems so everyone can enjoy the benefits and this funding is aimed at doing exactly that.

Lord Callanan
Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance 

We are delighted to know that funding from HNES is translating into real-world benefits. Round 3 grants will help to unlock tangible cost reductions and higher heating efficiency for 9,000 residents, as well as hospitals and university students. Revenue funds also presents a huge opportunity to unlock benefits for countless more heat network customers across England and Wales. We are excited to start working with our funded projects to facilitate the use of low cost, energy efficient heating and support the UK’s journey on the pathway to Net Zero.

Louise Singleton
Principal Consultant at Gemserv and HNES Programme Manager

We're a leading, award-winning university for sustainability 

We have a strong strategy for sustainability, incorporating social economic and environmental principles that have been in place for nearly two decades. 
We aim to have a sustainable campus and enable learning to research solutions to the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges. 
We also want to motivate the next generation of students to go out and tackle the sustainability challenges they'll find in their workplace.
Drake's Place Gardens

Sustainability Solutions 

Sustainability Solutions is our commitment to delivering on the promise of securing a greener, cleaner future, working in partnership with communities, industry, policymakers and individuals to bring about the paradigm shifts and cultural changes our world needs to thrive.
Taking a systems-thinking approach to tackling 21st-century global challenges
Sustainable Development Goals