Being a University committed to sustainability means, among other things, supporting low carbon emission measures through the use of renewable energy. DMU Campus is based in the city of Leicester, which is committed in turn to these issues.
In fact, to scale the progress made in this field, an interesting project was carried out by the City Council.
Three interactive maps have been created by the Environmental team of the Leicester City Council to display renewable energy and low carbon technology and how they have been employed across the city of Leicester
The website https://leicester-renewables.cartodb.com/maps includes three different interactive maps. The maps cover three different topics: Renewable Technology, Low Carbon Technology and Low Carbon Technology 2.
According to which layer you select, the renewable technology map shows: the major planning applications which generate renewable energy in orange, Leicester City Council renewables in green and domestic renewables in the blue shaded areas.
The Low Carbon Technology map shows: the district heating network in red (District Heating (DH) Main Pipes and DH Buildings), cavity wall insulated council homes in blue and external wall insulated council homes in green.
The Low Carbon Technology 2 map shows: LED street lighting in orange, Green roofs in green and Houses built to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 in blue.
The initiative enables individuals to discover the improvement for a low carbon Leicester. Also, it aims to encourage a future implementation of green technologies in the city, where DMU Campus is in the middle of it. A greener city will directly benefit the University. Also, it could be the starting point to link them together for a joint effort.
Indeed at DMU there is a focus on the implementation of renewable energy to cut the University’s carbon footprint and, of course, also the costs of energy consumption. Some examples are: a biomass boiler, ground source heat pumps, an air source heat pump, solar thermal panels and rainwater harvesting.
Let’s go through these tools to create renewable energy, according to where they are disposed within the Campus.
In John Whitehead Building, the heating is mostly supplied from a biomass boiler, which is fed with high quality wood pellets derived from sawmill waste wood. It provides low carbon heat.
In Hugh Aston Building, the underfloor heating and some of the hot water is supplied by four ground source heat pumps. There is a network of 60 boreholes, each 100 metres deep, in the ground underneath the building’s courtyard. The temperature of the ground at that depth is relatively constant throughout the year, warmer than ambient air temperatures during winter and cooler than ambient air temperatures during summer. Using the reverse-cycle heat pump, it is possible to exploit this temperature difference to provide low carbon heating and hot water in winter, and low carbon cooling in summer. The Hugh Aston Building also benefits from low carbon hot water, which is generated by two roof-mounted solar panels. Furthermore, at Hugh Aston there is rainwater harvesting. Here, rainwater is collected in an underground tank, from where it is pumped around the building to flush toilets. This system reduces the amount of fresh water used and the energy required to pump the fresh water to Hugh Aston.
The new Leisure Centre requires a lot of hot water throughout the year for the showers and to keep the swimming pool at a comfortable temperature. An air source heat pump was installed to help meet this demand.
Moreover, during summer 2013 the University has undertaken four installations of photovoltaic panels on its buildings: two in Hugh Aston, one in Edith Murphy and another at Gateway House. Between them it is estimated that these four installations will generate 96,128kWh of electricity per year. According to the average household uses of electricity per year this means that it will be generating enough electricity to supply over 29 homes. From a campus perspective this amount of energy easily offsets the amount of electricity consumed by Trinity House in a year.
Last but not least, there are some energy saving projects, such as a cover for the swimming pool. This reduces DMU’s gas consumption, by reducing the heat lost from the swimming pool water when the pool is not in use. Another example is the installation of LED lighting, which typically uses approximately 50% of the electricity required by conventional fluorescent lighting. The buildings involved in this project are: Kimberlin Library, Bede Halls of Residence, Estates Services Building, Hawthorn and Portland buildings.
Also, at DMU there are little electric vans!
The University’s efforts to be more and more eco-friendly should be seen as a wider effort for the University’s commitment to the public good. Cutting CO2 emissions with initiatives by the City Council and private citizens will benefit the overall air quality of Leicester. In turn, cutting CO2 levels through renewable energy at DMU will benefit the University and Leicester as well.