Every day our Estates Office actively track and monitor 95% of the Universities energy load through its online energy metering platform. It records data from 192 energy meters across the estate. Working with our significant energy users to promote energy conservation, the University was on target, pre closure, to reduce its annual energy load by 1% absolute, a 6th straight year of reducing our energy use.
You may wonder what impact the campus closure has had on UCC’s energy consumption? The immediate response would be to assume that energy consumption across the University has surely plummeted!
With most buildings now closed and others having only intermittent access, the University has had a 90% reduction in gas consumption and a 42% drop in electrical consumption, avoiding 412 TCO2.
Our gas consumption reduced by 90%, as the Estates office significantly reduced the heating schedules across the buildings. Some heating systems continued to operate, albeit at a significantly reduced level, to protect the building fabric in the older buildings while the buildings that have been in use continue to be supplied with hot water.
At first glance the 42% reduction in electrical use would seem modest, given that there is almost zero occupancy across the estate.
The typical daily electrical profile pre COVID, with its sharp steep rise in the morning as buildings open, peaking at midday and then slowly returning to rest late at night has been replaced by a relatively flat line throughout the day. The electrical load consumed by building services such a lighting, air supply fans and heating systems has reduced significantly and accounts for a large portion of the reductions achieved. The number of -80 freezers scattered throughout our buildings as well as critical research equipment is estimated to account for 40% of our current electrical load, with the IT infrastructure and network accounting for 25-30%. HVAC systems, supplying air to maintain critical room environments for specific areas, continue to operate as required and account for another 20-25% of energy use. The insights that we are gaining on our buildings energy use and operation will inform our energy management approach to ensure that we continue to drive down our energy and carbon footprint.
Through engagement with our significant energy users and with fantastic support from the Mechanical and Electrical Department in the Estates Office, the team continues to investigate areas where we can achieve further reductions in energy use over the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime if you have any suggestions, comments or questions on our energy management systems please drop an email to our Energy Manager Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org