In 2012, our Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant was opened. Located in Davy Building, the CHP plant provides heat to 50% of the campus. It integrates the production of usable heat and power in one efficient process, generating electricity whilst capturing usable heat produced during the process.
In conventional electricity production, heat is a wasted by-product. Our CHP plant is typically 30% more efficient than traditional gas boilers. This has saved the University approximately £3,600 a week. Our Marine Station and Derriford Research Facility also have onsite CHP.
We've installed Inverter Controls on all electric motors on campus, giving a soft start and stop and variable speed control. Inverters allow us to operate motors at optimum performance. This saves energy, improves the power factor (reducing the reactive power required reduces energy use) and improves performance.
In 2019-20 we commenced the Energy Infrastructure Project looking at the longer term plan to transition away from gas-led CHP towards a lower temperature, electrically led heat and cooling network. This will ultimately be lower carbon due to the growing input from renewable technology into the electricity grid.
Louvers and fins provide solar shading in the Link, Rolle and Babbage buildings. These reduce heat gain from the sun inside the building, in turn reducing demand for cooling.
We have natural ventilation and night cooling in the Portland Square, Marine and The House buildings, where the buildings are designed to ventilate naturally using convection currents. The large atrium in the Portland Square building allows hot air to rise and draws fresh air into the building without mechanical intervention. And, night time cooling uses the natural ventilation to cool the concrete's thermal mass at night, which then cools the building in the daytime.
We've installed voltage optimisation in the larger buildings around campus, including Portland Square, Roland Levinsky and Nancy Astor. It uses a special transformer to control the reduction in voltage to reduce energy use and power demand. This has the potential to reduce electricity consumption by 8 per cent, which is the equivalent of 573 TCO2e and nearly £100,000.
We use LEDs across most of our campus as they typically use five time less energy than traditional lighting. Over the past year we have converted the Smeaton, Fitzroy and Scott Buildings to LED lighting. Rolle and Portland Square conversions are expected to be completed in 2021.