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Environment and Energy

February was Spotlight on Energy month. There were several events and communications, which were designed to empower people to take energy-saving action in their department and make energy more tangible. So, what did we all learn over the month?

1) The use of energy across the University is varied

As a University, we consume a vast amount of energy, £18 million in 2017/18, and we also produce energy, almost 60,000 kWh of solar energy last year. Ten departments consume fifty two percent of the University’s total consumption, while the ten largest consumers of gas use forty seven percent. The quality of energy data has improved in recent years as the number of energy meters increased to over 2,000.

Energy facts poster

Figure 1: Energy facts poster

2) There is room for many disciplines in energy research

Our energy research event, ‘from negative to positive’ on 12 February gave us an opportunity to hear about some of the energy research emerging from University departments. Arfa Karani of Physics spoke about her research in solar panel materials and design, Dr Christina Penasco spoke of her work evaluating the impact of energy policies across Europe, and finally Rebecca Ward of Engineering discussed how we can better model energy consumption in new buildings.

If you would like to keep up to date with energy research innovations in the University, you can visit Energy @ Cam.

3) Staff are keen to understand and communicate energy impact

During February a number of staff completed Systemslink database training. Systemslink is a programme that non-embedded departments can use to monitor departmental or building energy consumption. Attendees learnt how to download energy data and to identify trends or anomalies in energy consumption. This information can then be communicated to departments, to target areas of improvement, to encourage behaviour change and to provide information on the department’s progress in meeting energy saving targets. If you missed our Systemslink training there will be further sessions on 28 March and on 7 May.

For staff who want to convert these figures into action, a separate workshop was held for Green Impact teams and EECs. This session focused on measuring and monitoring your environmental peformance, and communicating this to others. Slides from that session are available here.

4) There is an experienced team of energy professionals here to help your lab, building or department become more energy efficient

Through the 'Day in the Life' series we shared information about the roles of various members of the Environment and Energy team whose work is focused on energy saving. If you work in a lab and are interested in energy saving you can speak to Martin Howes, Sustainable Lab Coordinator. For energy efficiency improvements in new and existing buildings help is available from Building Energy Managers Xiang Cheng and Adam Fjaerem. If you have any metering queries the Energy sub team are here to help, and finally Carbon and Energy Manager Sally Pidgeon oversees the work of this team and develops energy policy and planning.

Energy team

Figure 2: The Energy team.