The University of Northumbria, Newcastle has newly installed a state-of-the-art Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) that significantly reduce its carbon emissions by over 316 tonnes per year. The ASHPs have replaced an old, inefficient, gas system. This project they say is a part of their journey toward Net Zero.
At the heart of Newcastle City Centre are the Newcastle Business School, Northumbria Law School and Northumbria School of Design. With this project, installed in just a few weeks’ time on top of the six-storey buildings, dozens of lecture theatres, offices, cafes and other facilities are being provided heating at a much lower carbon footprint. The ASHPs had to be supported with some plumbing modifications.
This project comes at a cost of €2.00 million funded primarily by the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and delivered by Salix Finance. Salix Finance supports public sector projects in energy efficiency and heat decarbonization. This project has been implemented by EQUANS, a multi-technical services provider. One of its services is helping its clients with energy transitions.
In addition to the reduced emissions, students of Northumbria can use the live data generated on the building heating performance to support their degree studies.
ASHP System diagram Source: www.energy.gov
The university has been making many sustainability efforts under its Environmental Sustainability Policy. It has been recognised by People & Planet’s University League for 2021 among the top 20 in the UK and as the best in the North East region. As part of its contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through research, teaching, campus and operations, they claim to have achieved a 58 per cent carbon reduction in the past five years.
How ASHPs work
Heat pumps work similarly to a refrigerator – they absorb heat and transfer it to another medium. An air source heat pump (ASHP) transfers heat absorbed from the outside air to an indoor space. This is achieved via wet central heating systems to heat radiators and provide domestic hot water. ASHPs can be used even in freezing temperatures, for heating as well as cooling during warmer weather. These pumps have many advantages and some downsides too. Read about them here.
On a side note, while ASHPs are great, if you’re planning on getting yourself a heat pump you might want to consider GSHPs or Ground Source Heat Pumps which are more efficient and offer better RHI.
The University of Northumbria is not just teaching its students, the citizen of the future, about sustainability but implementing sustainability programs itself and being a model for individuals and organisations to contribute towards the UN SDGs.