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- Improve the energy efficiency of all university buildings and facilities, moving away from fossil fuels where possible.
- Continue to reduce mains grid electricity use by 20% and mains gas by 25% as a minimum by 2030 from 2005–06 levels, with the intention to support further reductions through wider energy generation projects.
- Reduce water consumption from 7.3m³ per student to below 3.3m³.
- Maintain water consuming equipment at its optimum efficiency.
- Reduce consumption through tighter control and elimination of leakages.
- We've reduced tCO₂e emissions from gas and electricity by 62% since the base year 1990 to 2019–20.
- We have reduced electricity consumption by 13% from the base year 2005–06 to 2019–20.
- We have reduced gas use by 42% from the base year 2005–06 to 2019–20.
- Since 2005–06, we have reduced water consumption by 48%.
- In 2019–20, our water use per student was 3.71m³.
- Water use per user (including staff) was 3.25m³ in 2019–20.
How do we monitor energy use?
Our Building Management System (BMS) controls the mechanical and electrical services in 95% of our campus buildings. It ensures intelligent control of building systems and minimises energy waste. The BMS, for example, will turn on the boilers according to external temperatures, and can report a fire or a break-in. We have nearly 500 meters on campus, the majority provide information to the BMS every half an hour!
We have a live portal offering constant review of our energy use and providing profile alerts. The system checks consumption against historic profiles and energy use against BMS models, and creates live alerts when an item of plant is not functioning as expected. For instance, it can identify if there is higher than expected energy use, which can enable us to fix issues promptly and avoid wasted energy. Within 24 months of implementation, this system has helped us to identify and prevent potential increases in consumption of around £300,000.
Building audit: the comparative electrical use for our campus buildings.
Multiple meters: an example of the electrical metering graph view over a 30-day period.
Davy gas: an example of the gas metering graph view, showing gas use for our main campus CHP plant in the Davy building over a 30-day period.
Davy electric: an example of the electrical metering graph view, showing electricity use in the Davy building over a 30-day period.
Alert summary: all of the alerts in the energy management system (including historical) in a live auditing system.
We utilise many energy saving and generation technologies across our University buildings, and have many more projects planned to reduce our energy demand.
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 be lower carbon due to the growing input from renewable technology into the electricity grid, and the developing efficient electrical heating technologies such as heat pumps.
With changing weather patterns and increasing global demands, water is the next big global environmental threat – with huge societal impacts. We're committed to responsible water management as part of our overall sustainability strategy, and we believe that water conservation is paramount in terms of protecting the environment and reducing costs.
Rainwater harvesting technology is used in the Roland Levinsky Building, Nancy Astor Building, Marine Building and The House.
The University follows UK government guidelines and legislation to ensure water discharges beyond sewage do not negatively impact water quality, in order to protect ecosystems, wildlife or human health and welfare.
Sustainability is embedded not just in operations across the University but also in our course provision, education methods and research.
Sustainability Courses and Programmes
Plymouth offers a range of sustainability themed courses and programmes across many disciplines.
Discover how the Centre for Sustainable Futures works to embed sustainability across our faculties.
Our Sustainable Earth Institute is about advancing research, knowledge and innovation for a more sustainable Earth.