DMU’s measures to cut gas consumption

In both residential and non-residential buildings, energy consumption is dominated by space heating, cooling, and air conditioning (HVAC).

Source: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Data source: DOE, 2008 Buildings Energy Data Book, Section 3.1.4, 2008.

To reduce the impact of the heating and air conditioning system, heat recovery system has been installed in some of DMU’s buildings, including Hugh Aston Building, Edith Murphy House, PACE, Kimberlin Library and Eric Wood Building and a recirculation system in the Campus Centre, Queen’s Building and Bede Island is now working. These systems work by using extracted air to preheat the fresh air coming into the building or by mixing fresh incoming air with a percentage of warm extract air when outdoor temperatures are below comfortable levels. These systems make a significant reduction to our energy saving efforts. The introduction of the system to Campus Centre in 2010 reduced their annual gas consumption by approximately 75%.

boiler load management system is also in place in several buildings. The system works by switching the gas boilers off when they have reached the temperature required, and prevents them from dry-cycling.

Renewable energy also makes an important contribution to heating and hot water demand at DMU, replacing fossil fuel.

  1. Biomass boiler. The heating in John Whitehead Building is partially supplied from our biomass boiler. This is fed with high quality wood pellets, providing low carbon renewable energy in place of fossil fuel energy.
  2. Ground source heat pump. The underfloor heating and some of the hot water in Hugh Aston Building is supplied by 4 ground source heat pumps. There is a network of about 60 boreholes 100 metres deep in the ground underneath Hugh Aston courtyard.
    The temperature of the ground at that depth is relatively constant throughout the year, warmer than ambient air
    temperatures during winter and cooler than ambient air temperatures during summer. Using a reverse-cycle heat pump, it is possible to exploit this temperature difference to provide low carbon heating and hot water in winter and cooling in summer.
  3. Air source heat pump. The new Leisure Centre requires a lot of hot water throughout the year for the showers and to keep the swimming pool at a comfortable temperature. An air source heat pump has been installed to help meet this demand, while minimising carbon emissions.
  4. Solar panels. Hugh Aston Building also benefits from low carbon hot water, which is generated by two roof-mounted solar panels. These are the tube type of panel which deliver energy at higher efficiencies than flat plate systems. They have been designed to track the sun to maximise the solar energy absorbed. To a good view of the panels go on the top floor of Edith Murphy House.
  5. Rainwater harvesting. As drought is becoming more common nationally, it is responsible to use our water resources as efficiently as possible. In Hugh Aston Building, DMU collects rainwater in an underground tank, from where it is pumped around the building to flush toilets. This system reduces the amount of fresh water in use and reduces the amount of energy and chemicals used to treat the water by the water company.

The text and the images of the present post are reproduced with the permission of De Montfort University.

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