The University of Reading is making a £12million pound investment to replace its ageing steam central boiler system with a brand new Energy Centre and district heating network. The Energy Centre will house a combined heat and power (CHP) generator and four large high-efficiency boilers.
This system will heat and provide hot water to a total of sixteen buildings on the Whiteknights Campus and will be vastly more efficient than the previous one.
By replacing the ageing steam system, the University estimate that it will reduce its carbon footprint by around 3%, which will be a major contribution to the 35% reduction target by July 2016.
The University’s Energy Manager, Dan Fernbank said “this project is another significant step in reducing our carbon emissions, which we have already cut by 15% in the last 3 years. It will also enable us to consider connecting further low carbon technologies in the future, as well as more campus buildings.”
The energy centre will see savings of over 1,000 tCO2 and more than £250,000 from the new system annually.
The new system will be much more efficient than taking electricity from the national grid with electricity being generated on site and the ‘waste’ heat that is produced by the CHP generator being fed directly into the heating network to provide hot water and heating to the University buildings
As you may have already noticed, work has already begun on this project as phase 1 of the 3km of a new super-insulated heating network is being laid. Currently, trenching and pipe laying work has begun for the heat network around the Miller, URS and Wager buildings with phases 2 and 3 of the trenching being completed by Spring 2014. The foundations have already been completed for the new Energy Centre itself, which is located behind Engineering and the building’s steel frame is currently being erected.
This work will enable the first 6 buildings to receive heat from the new system in September 2014, with the remaining 10 buildings doing so in the following summer of 2015.