The University has saved a record amount of energy this winter, according to figures published by the University of St Andrews Environment Team.
Over the winter break, the energy saved from all schools, halls and units (as a result of people shutting off appliances before the break) was 27 per cent of the University’s normal energy usage, amounting to £51,436 and 249 tonnes of carbon. This is an increase from last year, when the University saved only £37,457 and 190 tonnes of carbon over the break.
The University’s ‘winter shutdown’ is part of its efforts to become fully carbon neutral by 2016 and part of a wider effort by the University to become more environmentally friendly, aided by environmental charity Transition.
David Stutchfield, Energy Officer for the University’s Estates and Environment team, confirmed to The Saint that the University was still on track to reach its 2016 target and that the ‘winter shutdown’ plays a big part in their efforts.
He said: “We are currently investing around £450 to £500 million per year on things like putting new lights in, putting new boilers in, so that all our buildings are actually using less energy.”
Indeed, the figures come in the wake of increased promotion for the University’s Inter-Hall Energy Competition. This aims to encourage students in halls to conserve energy by offering a £150 reward to the committee of the hall that saves the most energy each month, to be spent on sustainability-related events and projects.
Andrew Melville Hall saved the most energy over the first semester of this academic year, with McIntosh Hall and University Hall in second and third place respectively.
Past efforts by the University to reduce its carbon footprint include Kenly Wind Farm, which is predicted to save 19,000 tonnes of carbon per year and is currently still in the process of finding a developer. The recently approved Guardbridge Energy Centre, which will provide biomass energy for the University, is another such project.
Currently, 70 per cent of the energy used by the University is ‘green’ but it is hoped that these projects will further increase that figure.