University granted £21m to decarbonise campus

By Tim Aldred

09 Nov 2023

Aerial photo of Lancaster University Campus

The government has sent £21m to Lancaster University to enable it to decarbonise its campus.

The university declared a climate crisis in 2020. It is ranked as the fifth most sustianable university in the UK and the 24th in the 2024 QS World University Ranking.

Now it has received money from the Green Heat Network Fund to eliminate virtually all use of gas at its Bailrigg campus.

The funds will be invested in establishing a Low Carbon Energy Centre which will use air source heat pumps, thermal storage and electrical infrastructure to create an innovative heat network providing 45 GWh of low carbon heat, which will be sufficient to provide heating and hot water for nearly the entire campus.

The heat pumps will be powered by renewable electricity from a new solar farm, which already has achieved planning permission at the university’s Forest Hills site, and an existing 2.3MW wind turbine, providing a low carbon solution for heat and electricity supply to the whole campus for the next generation.

The investment will also see the development of a ‘Living Lab’ research hub and a showcase demonstration facility to help share knowledge of how a campus-wide decarbonisation approach can work.

Prof Simon Guy, pro vice chancellor global digital, international and sustainability at Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University has a long-established reputation for its world-leading education and research. With this next step, Lancaster aims to be among the best in the world for offering students and staff a sustainable campus in which to work and study.

“Our students want to go out into the world to make a difference – what better start to that ambition than a world-class university education which is mindful of the planet and places sustainability at the heart of its decision making.”

The GHNF investment has come from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero via Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management and comes as part of a wider investment programme of nearly £65m in five projects nationwide.

Ken Hunnisett, programme director for Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management, said: “When built and commissioned, the projects subject of this latest announcement will deliver significant volumes of low-carbon, cost-effective heat to more than 14,000 homes in public and private ownership while also decarbonising an entire university campus for Lancaster’s 13,000 students.”

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