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News article

York St John University wins sustainability award after completing  decarbonisation project on campus 

Published: 31 January 2022

  •   Featured
  •   Campus & Estates
A car park with solar panelled roofs

Solar carports at the Haxby Road Sports Park.

York St John University has worked with green energy providers on a major project to reduce the carbon footprint of its sites in York.  

It's estimated that the project will mean an annual saving of 640,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) combined with a reduction of 82 tonnes of CO2 emitted per year. This puts the University firmly on track to meet its 2030 target of an 80% reduction in emissions over 25 years.  

The work has been carried out after a successful bid for funding from Salix Finance, a government backed scheme to support sustainability projects in the public sector. The final funding totalled over 840 thousand pounds and has been used for onsite upgrades at the Lord Mayor’s Walk campus, Haxby Road Sports campus and the St John Central student accommodation site.  

The upgrades include: 

  • Roof mounted solar photovoltaics on St Anthony’s House, Foss & Skell, De Grey, Fountains and St John Central  
  •  Solar carports and battery storage at the Haxby Road Sports Park   
  • Air source heat pumps on campuses and accommodation sites. 

The main partner for the works was CorEnergy Limited, which specialises in renewable energy generation and battery storage projects.  

Director Tom Griffin said: “We’re exceptionally proud to have been appointed as Principal Contractor by York St John University. Projects involved the turnkey design and installation of roof mounted solar PV across multiple campus buildings and the design and construction of solar car ports and battery storage at the Haxby Road sports centre.  

“These successful projects deliver a major step forward by the University to decarbonise its estate. They deliver a meaningful reduction in carbon impact by generating onsite renewable energy for the next 25+ years with the battery storage enabling the optimum level of renewable generation to be consumed onsite.”  

The programme has also seen York St John University’s decarbonisation work commended in a new study of universities by People & Planet, the largest student network in the UK campaigning for social and environmental justice. York St John was named joint 1st for carbon reduction, a significant achievement in the sector. 

York St John University’s Director of Estates Management Nick Coakley said: “We are clear in our mission to be sector leaders in environmental sustainability and biodiversity, to significantly cut our carbon footprint and lower our energy usage. We know that this is what our students and staff want to see and it's embedded in our Strategy as a University. My thanks to everyone who's played a part in pushing this project through, but our work and ongoing commitment to environmental responsibility doesn't end here.” 

 The next phase of decarbonisation will focus on reducing our gas consumption and the installation of air source heat pump technology. The University is also looking to increase the proportion of electricity that it sources directly from wind farms through power purchase agreements. 

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