University Solar Panels shine!

In December 2011, two sets of solar energy roof panels were installed on the Carrington building and the Estates and Facilities building.

The image below shows the productivity of both sets of solar panels in their first full year since installation.  Unsurprisingly, the solar panels produced more electricity in the summer months of June, July and August; however May saw the largest amount of electricity produced, with an impressive 5754 kWh.

2012 Solar Output Image

The energy produced by these solar panels in 2011 enabled the University to save £23,694 and 23.1 tonnes of CO2 and the panels’ total production of 44,141kWh was more than anticipated, despite the poor weather!  This is equivalent to supplying 9 UK households for a year according to the latest Ofgem energy consumption figures!

University awarded £500,000 of energy efficiency funding

The University has been successful in a £500,000 bid for energy efficiency funding to HEFCE’s Revolving Green Fund.  This funding is a major boost to reaching our 35% carbon reduction target by 2016, and will be invested in a wide range of projects over the next 15 months.  Planned projects include:

  • Expanding our energy metering in key buildings right across the estate, to increase our understanding of how buildings are performing
  • Continuing our programme of upgrading inefficient lighting and installing lighting sensors where appropriate
  • Investigating the suitability of LED street lighting and subsequent installations
  • Surveying Whiteknights’ campus buildings to identify those suitable for cavity wall insulation and subsequently installing the insulation where appropriate
  • Installing additional heating controls to areas of Park House catering facilities
  • Installing a building control system in a large tenanted property

The Revolving Green Fund is open to all higher education institutions in England and the £500,000 award is a significant proportion of their overall energy efficiency funding of £10 million.

A key part of HEFCE’s criteria was to be able to demonstrate our commitment and track record in reducing our carbon emissions, which we have demonstrated amply through our carbon reductions, capital investments to date and our award winning behavioural change initiatives.

Keep an eye on these pages for news of further projects planned for the coming year.



HEFCE is the Higher Education Funding Council for England

Water Saving Projects on Campus

Two water saving projects have recently been completed which will save over 12,000m3 of water annually.

Water use is becoming an increasingly important issue and in 2012, the University set itself a 10% water reduction target, which the Sustainability Team have been working hard on to understand how water usage can be cut.

During 2012 the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy approached us regarding their current chiller plant’s water consumption.  After some research, we agreed to jointly fund the purchase and installation of a new, recirculating compact chiller.  Since its installation in February 2013, we have seen a significant decrease in the building’s water consumption, equivalent to 7,200m3 annually. This equates to saving £6,186 per year in water bills, and has reduced its carbon footprint by 6.5 tonnes of carbon a year too!

Another success story has been the installation of a sophisticated liquid ring vacuum pump in the Food Biosciences Hall in April this year in place of a fresh water vacuum system, which has reduced the building’s water consumption by 4,838m3 and made annual net savings of 2 tonnes of carbon a year, saving the University a cool £7,183 per year in water bills!

JJ Thomson Savings ImageFood Bio Savings Image















There is still a lot more that can be done around the University to prevent water waste.  We are now looking at water consumption in other buildings and for opportunities to reduce their water consumption too.

For further information please visit or feel free to contact us at

Green Impact Awards 2013

The Green Impact Awards were hosted by the Vice Chancellor in the newly refurbished Meadow suite during lunch time on Friday 26th April. The awards celebrate environmental achievement throughout the year, in particular rewarding progress through the online Green Impact  workbook. During the 2012/13 academic year, it has been calculated that the project has saved the University over £45,000 and 217 tCO2e.

This year, the event was attended by over 50 members of staff representing 19 teams. The entrants this year provided a wide representation of the University population, including the Students’ Union, academic departments, administrative teams and the entire Greenland’s Campus. 2012/13 also saw the largest gold cohort ever, with 7 teams picking up the top accolade.

The awards would not have been possible without the support of the student population. This year, over 50 student auditors were successfully recruited and trained as part of the project. This resulted in each of them passing an IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment) recognized course and developing their logical, interpersonal and investigative skills. We hope that this experience will inspire students to pursue environmental careers, or at least bear in mind these important issues during their professional lives.

We now look forward to the next round of Green Impacts, during the 2013/14 academic year. Plans are already afoot to revise the workbook and recruit further teams. The goal is to have more people involved in the awards than not at the University of Reading!

For pictures of the event, please visit our Flickr page:

For more information on Green Impact Awards: