Plymouth goes carbon-neutral

Plymouth University partners with Schneider Electric to meet its carbon neutral targets

Since opening its doors in 1992, Plymouth University has welcomed thousands of students at its Drake Circus campus. As a leading research body, it is vital that the university’s buildings are working efficiently, in order to create a comfortable working environment for students and staff.

The university chose to partner with global energy management specialist, Schneider Electric and Cisco. As such, the project saw the company install the world’s first integrated Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Building Energy Management System (BEMS) in order to achieve carbon neutral status by 2030,

Strict targets have been set in place – Plymouth aims to save 3,000 tonnes of CO2 and £500,000 in energy costs per annum. The new solutions implemented by Schneider Electric will play a key part in achieving this, as they are set to save the university around £300,000 and 1,900 tonnes of CO2 over the next four years.

To meet the university’s strategic sustainability objectives, a number of solutions were required that would work with the existing asset investments and make a tangible difference to its energy usage, while creating a comfortable place to study, work and socialise.  

There are two systems (BEMS and ICT) at the core of the solution and by integrating it through a new gateway, the system has enabled Plymouth University to achieve its three main objectives:

  • Immediate emissions savings and a reduction in operational expenditure with a payback period under 5 years
  • Enhanced intelligence for on-going management and policy development
  • A long term strategy for the converged management of energy related systems and assets

In partnership with Schneider Electric, the university developed and implemented a campus-wide solution that incorporates significant enhancement of the BEMS, on-site utility and commodity metering and reporting, as well as offering best practice stakeholder engagement. 

The university is already accredited ISO14001 environmental management system and is actively working towards ISO 50001 – the energy management system equivalent.

Paul Lumley from Plymouth University, comments: “Sustainability is an increasingly important issue for our students; we have been successful in reducing our carbon emissions but realised that we had to do more to achieve our deadline of becoming completely carbon neutral by 2030. Sustainability is one of the four core ambitions in the University’s 2020 Strategy.

“We opted to work with Schneider Electric and Cisco on our energy saving project due to the impressive savings that the proposed solution would enable us to achieve, as well as both company’s excellent track record. The remarkable five-year payback period was also a key factor in our decision making process.

“We look forward to working alongside both teams as we continue to monitor the university and strive to meet our targets.”

John Clifford, UK & Ireland EnergyWise lead for Cisco said: ‘These implementations that allow for a better place to work or study are both affordable and sustainable. Institutions like Plymouth University are pushing the boundaries in terms of energy management, and more and more companies will follow suit with goals for becoming carbon neutral.”

Philip Clarke, EMEA account director from Schneider Electric, adds: “For many, the notion of updating an existing system to a more efficient version can seem overwhelming, often believing that they will in effect, have to rip out and start again. 

“However, with the open solutions that are now on the market, this isn’t the case. We are able to work alongside partner companies, such as Cisco to devise a tailored plan that will suit organisations such as Plymouth University, by simply integrating the new with the old. This means that creating a more energy efficient and comfortable environment is easier than ever.”

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