As our campuses are in a state of hibernation we have been monitoring changes in energy consumption across our estate. So, what have we seen?
Understandably through March, April and May we have seen that our consumption of gas has decreased as we have turned heating systems off and backed off systems that we need to keep on to meet our compliance obligations.
Throughout March and April we have found that overall there has been a reduction of over 1,000,000kWh across the Estate compared to last year. This is equivalent to a typical month’s gas consumption on Jubilee Campus. In April (the first full month of hibernation) gas consumption was 25% lower than in previous years, Against last year’s consumption we have seen our overall gas spend increase but emitted 200 tonnes less carbon dioxide, both of which help is to deliver the University Strategy
Whilst this is great news there has been a sting in the tail, with the pricing of gas very much based upon volumes and there is a significant excess supply of gas at the moment ( which under basic economic theory should see the price drop), however recognising that suppliers have increased costs in storing gas OFGEM has allowed them to increase the unit cost of gas, So for us in April we used 2,000,000 less units than last year, but paid 40% more for every one of the units we did consume, which had a financial impact of circa £37k
Just like gas consumption we have seen a large reduction in our electricity consumption across the Estate. Offices and teaching spaces are empty there is limited research taking place and working with technical staff from across schools and faculties we have seen large amounts of non-critical equipment turned off.
During March and April we saw a 45% reduction in electricity consumption, to put this into context this is the same amount of electricity that Jubilee campus typically consumes in three months. This has led to a saving of £220,000 of expenditure on electricity and reduced carbon emissions from our electricity use by 1,000 tonnes of carbon. (This is the equivalent to taking 500 return flights from London to New York).
This significant reduction in electricity use clearly demonstrates that there is (logically) a correlation between people on campus and our electricity consumption and we can all have a significant impact in reducing our electricity use through how we do things and the behaviours we adopt.
One of the largest single budget lines across the University is our utilities expenditure which was around £14 Million in 18/19. Our University Strategy commits us to some deep carbon cuts in the coming years and the challenge for us all as we get back to our campuses is to ensure that we continue to use energy as efficiently as we can and eliminate unnecessary energy use and contribute to the 15% financial savings (which in energy terms equates to a savings target of circa £2 million) we are all being asked to deliver. We are all going to have to do things differently to help deliver these financial and carbon savings.
We are working on a number of initiatives to help to deliver energy reductions (including reviewing heating schedules) – but we need all of the University Community to work with us to delivery significant energy reduction.
We are keen to work with you and hear from you if you have any thoughts and ideas on measures we can all take and will later in the summer be running a series of interactive sessions to gather your thoughts and ideas. In the meantime if you have any suggestions please do drop us a note on email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Wednesday 3rd June 2020