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UC aims to cut carbon footprint by 45%

The University of Canterbury (UC) aims to cut its carbon footprint by 45% with a low carbon energy strategy that will significantly reduce its coal-based heating provision.

The preparatory work for new carbon-neutral biomass boilers on UC’s Ilam and Dovedale campuses has begun.

Chancellor Dr John Wood says that UC is committed to a cleaner, greener future.

“This has been an extensive journey and a huge amount of work but it’s well worth it. Since 2010 the University has reduced its greenhouse gas footprint by 32%,” Dr Wood says.

“The use of the new biomass boilers coupled with improvements to the thermal efficiency of the University’s buildings over the next 10 to 15 years is expected to result in a further reduction in the footprint by 45%. This is something we can be proud of in time for UC’s 150th anniversary celebrations.”

In order to assess the most efficient and sustainable low-carbon energy model, UC undertook a Low Carbon Energy Feasibility Study (LCEFS) which reviewed heating and cooling infrastructure and buildings including proposed and under construction buildings on both Ilam and Dovedale campuses.

A ground source heat pump (GSHP) system was recommended in the study and is being installed in the new University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) building, Haere-roa, which is under construction.

UC previously undertook an LCEFS which reviewed both campuses’ heating and cooling infrastructure and the University’s many legacy, proposed and under construction buildings, to assess the most efficient and sustainable low-carbon energy solution.

“Employing renewable energy sources in place of fossil fuels, combined with improvements to building thermal envelopes will drive down relative energy intensity and, more significantly, decrease the carbon footprint,” UC Energy Manager and Carbon Accountant Tony Sellin says.

“UC will be well placed to respond to next year’s Zero Carbon Act, supporting New Zealand’s obligations and commitment to the Paris Agreement. Repurposing existing building heating solutions to use artesian water-based GSHP technology means there will be capability to eventually remove combustion heating entirely.”

The LCEFS has been developed into a Low Carbon Energy Scheme Roadmap strategy, which identifies the proposed new work on both campuses over the short, medium and longer terms. Implementing the biomass boilers will be completed in stages with completion expected in 2021.


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