The University of the West of England (UWE) has signed up to a 100% green electricity tariff to ensure that all of the energy consumed on its premises comes from clean sources.
In addition to the output from its 450kWp rooftop solar array and CHP system, both located on site, UWE’s electricity will come from EDF as of October 2016 under a new framework from The Energy Consortium (TEC).
The French utility offers electricity from its substantial UK wind portfolio and will supply the green electricity at an increased price no more than 0.3% (£9,000) above the £3 million a year UWE currently spends on electricity.
Fabia Jeddere-Fisher, energy manager for UWE, said: “The new TEC Framework with EDF has now made it possible for us to purchase electricity guaranteed from renewable sources that is affordable and doesn’t put a strain on our budget. This was a no-brainer for us. Our students and staff still get an excellent service overall, plus we know the electricity we consume on site has come from renewable sources.
“The more large businesses and institutions that opt to buy into this way of consuming energy, the more we can collectively encourage the industry to deliver more renewable energy options. If there is demand, the pressure to supply will be established.
“In addition, this switch will move us into the top quartile of universities making this commitment to purchasing renewable energy. We are currently somewhere in the middle of the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) Green Scorecard for this measure, but this commitment will see us leap up the ratings.”
The Green Scorecard ranks higher education institutions for their sustainability practices in area including energy, transport, water, waste, procurement and management.
William Liew, finance director for UWE, said: “This is another big step in the right direction and shows how we are striving to strategically integrate sustainability across all activities. Together with the decision to invest in the largest PV Array in the HE Sector, this move sends out a positive message to our staff, students and wider community that we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment
“Buying green electricity integrates with the raft of other sustainable initiatives, from how we plan our building projects to how we develop transport options.”
As well as switching to a verified 100% green tariff UWE has committed to a programme of reducing its energy consumption, incorporating low energy features in several building projects to have taken place on site. These have include the use of straw bale insulation and reactive presence detecting and LED lighting.
This year’s refurbishment of the Bower Ashton Campus achieved a 45% carbon saving on a pre-refurbished building, based on 18 months of post-occupancy data.
Jeddere-Fisher added: “Going forward, we are planning even more projects to focus on the users themselves and will be working closely with our faculties on a Carbon Action project to give the faculties visibility of their specific carbon footprint to help us identify real energy reductions.
“Every project that we develop at UWE Bristol considers the sustainability features that we can introduce to reduce our carbon footprint.”