University invests in sustainable heat source on University Park campus


April 3rd, 2024

In November, University Council approved investment into the first phase replacement of our 70-year-old District Heating Network (DHN) currently heating the campus.

We will create a Low-Carbon Energy Centre on University Park which uses energy from deep under the surface in the form of an open loop water source heat pump. The plans also include improvements to ventilation and glazing.

The construction of the Energy Centre will commence during the summer of 2024 and we plan for the system to be operational by winter 2025.

Work started with some initial borehole tests in December 2023, on the north side of Law and Social Science (LaSS) building. The test allowed us to understand the flow rates that we can abstract water and will inform how many boreholes we need for the system; this will enable us to define a more accurate plan for the next phase of the project.

Further tests to our initial borehole will take place from late March, requiring 300mm pipework to be placed through the Millennium Gardens (from 25 March for approximately two weeks).

The gardens will still be accessible, signs will be in place and for those on foot the pipe can be stepped over. Alternatively, this can be avoided be using the woodland path at the top of the Downs.

We anticipate a further four boreholes are needed to supply the new Energy Centre, which we aim to progress in Spring/Summer.

Following this we will install underground ducts for pipework on the outskirts of LaSS and in between LaSS and Hallward Library. The laying of these pipes will affect pedestrian routes between the buildings and access around this area will be more limited than normal.

Users are advised to allow extra time to take alternative pedestrian routes around to the west of LaSS and the east of Hallward while this work takes place. Signs will be in place to help you navigate.

A significant amount of the parking area to the back of LaSS will be unavailable for the duration of the project – flexing up and down as we move through the project. Anyone needing to park in this area is advised to consider alternative options.

Further detail on the individual elements of these projects will be provided as they begin, and we will work closely with the impacted schools, faculties, and teams to ensure disruption is minimised.

Law and Social Sciences – starts Easter 2024

We will replace the current single glazed windows in LaSS with double glazing. This will improve the thermal resilience of the building, allowing us to capitalise on the efficiencies of the new Energy Centre, and keeping heat in and solar gain out.

This work is planned to start in April, during the Easter break and continue through to Autumn 2024.

Hallward Library – starts Spring 2024

The ventilation system will be refurbished to ensure a better balance of temperature within the building. We hope to carry out this work during low use /quiet periods.

Access to building during the works will be affected, including access to Security in Hallward and parking in this area. There will also be the movement of plant and equipment in and around this area throughout the project.

Sir Clive Granger, Trent and Portland buildings – starts April 2024

Sir Clive Granger, Trent and Portland buildings will be disconnected from the DHN following the installation of a new single-source heating to each of those buildings.

This work is expected to start during Spring/Summer and be complete by October 2024. Construction work will take place around the Sir Clive Granger visitor car park side of the building, resulting in the loss of some parking and facilities in the main visitor carpark. The east side entrance will be closed and building users will be asked to use the main entrance on the Hallward Library side of the building.

A small extension to the New Theatre Building will house the new system serving the Trent Building, connecting to the rear of the Trent building near the current bridge on the north side of the building.

The new infrastructure being installed for the Portland building will be within the existing basement plant room located underneath the subway between Trent and Portland.

We are finalising the logistics of all three schemes and the project team expects localised disruption and temporary construction compounds to be located close to the main working areas. We will communicate firm plans as soon as we have them.

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