1 March 2013
The Brunei gallery has seen a dramatic improvement in its energy efficiency, helping SOAS towards its challenging CO2 reduction targets.
Thanks to recent works, the building now uses less than half the gas than it did previously and its Display Energy Certificate (DEC) rating has risen from G - the lowest possible - to C.
SOAS has set its sights on a 48 per cent reduction on 2005 levels, as part of their carbon management plan, in response to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) call for universities to contribute to the UK government’s CO2 reduction plan. SOAS’ target is 5% above the minimum demanded of the sector.
On his appointment as SOAS’ Head of Energy Management, Stephen Mckinnell commissioned an energy audit of the building, which threw up a number of issues with the Building Energy Management System (BEMS). For example, setpoints were incorrectly configured and were in fact operating the heating system when the building was closed; and the two chillers were operating incorrectly and highly inefficient.
Energy saving innovations introduced as a result of the audit included the installation of passive infrared (PIR) sensors in the lecture theatres so that building services are only fully activated when they are being used. State-of-the-art humidity sensors were also specified, as galleries must have the correct environmental controls in place in order to meet their insurance obligations. Zoning of the building has improved comfort and reduce energy consumption by taking into account solar gain, free cooling and occupancy patterns
Much of the funding for these projects was provided through Salix Finance, which aims to accelerate investment by public sector bodies in energy efficiency technologies through invest to save schemes. Funded by The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), The Welsh Assembly Government and The Scottish Government via The Carbon Trust, it provides funding for proven technologies that are cost effective in saving CO2 and that can maximise the potential of any further energy saving technologies.