How the University is responding to rising energy prices

The impact of the rising energy costs will add multiple millions to our energy costs over the next two years. To reduce the impact of this, and to support the University’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions, we’ve secured new investment worth £2.8m to rollout a programme of additional energy efficiency measures in the next 12-24 months.

As widely reported, gas prices have risen sharply since the start of the year due to many geopolitical factors. Prices for gas this winter are three times higher than they were this time last year. Because electricity is made from gas, electricity prices are also high.

The University bought nearly all its gas and electricity for this winter ahead of time, though the current prices of the small amounts we still need to buy mean a substantial increase on the previous years’ costs. As time goes on, the prices we pay will continue to rise, with sharp increases due again in 2023. To put that into perspective, this could increase our energy bill by several million pounds, this year and next.

Our aim is to reduce gas consumption by at least 10% and electricity consumption by up to 10%. Actions include control changes, building system optimisation measures and additional metering – a full summary is included below. These actions will cut our carbon emissions by an estimated 8%, and support our longer-term investment program to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Some of the planned actions will also make it easier and cheaper to connect to low carbon sources of heat and electricity later in the decade.

Delivering the Energy Crisis Response Plan requires collaboration across all areas of the University, notably our Building Services, Asset Maintenance, Facility Managers and Procurement teams, as well as academic departments for which measures may cause changes to usual processes.

To find out more about energy and carbon strategy, including our 8 point plan to reduce carbon, visit Energy, carbon and water | Sustainability | University of Bristol

To find out more about how you can help conserve energy both at home and across campus, visit our ‘Be the Change – Water and Energy’ webpage. Be The Change Water and Energy | Sustainability | University of Bristol

A full summary of the actions being undertaken: 

  • Optimising heating, ventilation rates and lighting across the estate to achieve energy savings with due regard for health & safety and the staff and student experience.
  • Replacing some boilers with modular boilers.
  • Replacing central hot water systems with point of use systems.
  • Trialing high-efficiency LED lighting at Old Park Hill.
  • Investigating a centralised cold storage facility, a solar site and different water purification technology.
  • Servicing laboratory systems to ensure efficiency, without, of course, compromising on safety.
  • Communicating to staff and students to realise energy savings in their immediate environment.

1 thought on “How the University is responding to rising energy prices

  1. It is currently far too hot in many teaching spaces. For example, in E29 in the Biomedical Sciences building today, students were sat in t-shirts whilst it was about 5 degrees centigrade outside. When I’ve approached estates assistants about issues like this in the past, they’ve shrugged their shoulders, as they have no ability to regulate the temperature in the buildings they are responsible for. It’s not good for teaching and learning when it is too hot, and it’s also pretty terrible for the environment. My naive perspective on all if this is that we could probably save most of that 10% by simply turning down the thermostats by a couple of degrees and closing all the windows that people keep opening because it is too damn hot inside!

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