As part of the Abingdon Foundation’s sustainability strategy, the Estates and Facilities Management (EFM) team are working on a variety of initiatives to reduce the Foundation’s carbon footprint. The main initiatives that have happened so far are as follows:
- LED Lighting and Controls: All new buildings have been installed with A+ LED lighting with timed absence or presence detection. This means that when someone walks into a bathroom the lights come on and the fan runs, then they will tune off a few minutes after you have left. The new classrooms also have a similar system, where the lights will turn off after a 1-hour of no movement detected. But you can help by turning off the lights when you leave. We are actively replacing old tube lights with LED when the lights fail to continue this roll out to other buildings.
- Centralised Building Management System: The Foundation is rolling out a centralised management system of the heating controls in our buildings, the initial stages are to ensure that the buildings are easily controllable and monitored. The exciting stuff is only just starting to be developed. We are working with our system engineers to introduce AI into the system. One example of this will allow the system to automatically adjust the water temperatures to heat the buildings to the desired temperatures whilst minimising our carbon footprint and avoiding overheating. It does this by learning how an individual zone responds to heating demands at different times of the day, depending on the outside weather and historical data. Implementation of this is difficult currently with doors and windows open to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19.
- Solar Panels (PV): The Foundation installed its first solar panels (PV) on the then new Estates Hub. It is a 7.4kwh system that feeds the Hub, any excess produced then goes to help power the sports centre. This system has produced 6.88 Mwh (Megawatt hours) of electricity in the last 12 months which is the equivalent of 18.82 trees or 6.87t of CO2. The plan is now to expand the use of solar panels to produce electricity within the Foundation and the next phase is the installation of a system on the flat roofs of the sports centre. This planned system is approximately 55kwh and could produce close to 50Mwh a year. The planned installation is for Easter 2021.
The EFM team are also looking at other opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint these include air/ground source heat pumps instead of boilers in new buildings and the replacement of old equipment, upgrading of old windows to double glazed or secondary glazing.