Our green and pleasant university

The Energy Performance Certificate for the University of Lincoln’s Main Admin Building. (Click to enlarge) Photo: Mike Hodges

Various University of Lincoln buildings have begun to sprout a new form of decoration. These rather harmless looking documents are Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and they tell us just how environmentally friendly, or not, the buildings are.

Just think of them as a report card for the building, describing its consumption of energy and its production of carbon.

Once of the most prominent is the EPC for the Main Admin Building. It shows an alarming score of 137. Perhaps reflecting the fact that when it was opened in 1996, by Her Majesty The Queen no less, environmental concerns were not as prominent as they would be today. It might also be down to the vast number of glass panels the building has. These are notorious for their ability to leak heat.

But all is not lost. Dan Clayton, the university’s environment sustainability manager, is on the case. He explained how the university has already begun a programme of smart meter installations that will continue over Easter with the Greestone Building and Chad Varah House. Many of the Brayford Campus’s buildings have already been fitted with smart meters, including the Media, Humanities, and Technology Building as well as the Main Admin Building itself. Nor is it just a case of sitting back and watching the smart meters.

Clayton said: “During the period from the August 1st to January 31st we have saved a total of 427,000 kilowatt hours of energy when compared to the same time period last year. That’s equivalent to 235 tonnes of carbon saved, according to the DEFRA carbon calculator.” Such a saving in energy, and costs, should be applauded.

Along with these reductions in energy usage and the smart meter programme, the university is also drafting a Carbon Management Plan. All this shows that the university is well on its way to meeting the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s strict carbon reduction targets. These targets include a 48% cut by 2020 of carbon emissions when compared to 2005 levels.

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