How it works
13 of UCC’s 130 buildings are responsible for using 87% of the university’s €4 million energy budget.
These Significant Energy Users (SEUs) are targeted with the “Saver Saves scheme”. With this scheme, the energy budget for the SEU is devolved to that department/school at the beginning of the financial year. A team is established within the department/school to drive the scheme locally. With support from the university’s energy manager, projects are implemented to improve the efficiency of the building. Any financial savings made remain with the department/school to be reinvested in further environmental projects. The most mature example of this “revolving fund” approach is the Boole Library.
The Boole Library, which accounts for 8.6% of UCC’s energy consumption, has seen a 7% reduction in its annual consumption. Savings were achieved through closer management of its significant energy users, reduction of lighting levels across the summer and other minor changes. In September 2017 the savings were reinvested to install an air barrier at the main entrance to reduce the impact of draughts and cold air flows, improving the building comfort levels as well as saving energy. Due to the success of the program in the Boole, the Library staff have implemented an environmental campaign, love our library, with the aim of keeping the Boole clean and green. More information on the Boole Library campaign can be found on the team’s webpage – https://libguides.ucc.ie/librarysustainability/welcome .
The Pharmacy building, which was part of the pilot project, has achieved annual savings, despite an increase in its utilisation of lab spaces. Savings have been reinvested in lighting upgrades and installation of more energy efficient equipment for lab services.
The Glucksman Gallery has seen a 32% reduction in its annual energy use by closer management of its significant energy users. Savings by the Gallery have been reinvested in replacing existing exhibition lighting with more efficient and reliable LED lighting.
Other participants in scheme include the Environmental Research Institute, the North Mall and the Main Quadrangle. Watch out for more exciting updates from these teams in the coming months!
Strong communications with clear messaging and feedback on positive outcomes is central to the success of the scheme. Each team is contacted with weekly, monthly and annual updates. An example of the type of annual report a Saver Saves team would receive is below.
The overall impact on UCC’s energy use has been significant. While Irish Universities performance tends to be based on normalised results (i.e. increased efficiency), UCC continually achieves absolute reductions in use. In 2018/19, UCC’s overall energy usage reduced by 3%, while energy use in the SEUs reduced by 1%.