Data centre heat to be reused in university buildings

  • 19th June 2024

The University of Edinburgh is among several organisations to share grants from a new Scottish Government net zero fund.

Edinburgh will receive nearly £2.1m – alongside £520,000 of its own funding – to support energy-saving projects at its Kings Buildings campus.

The money awarded by the Scottish Government’s Public Sector Heat Decarbonisation Fund will be used towards decarbonising the campus’ heat supply by reusing heat from a university data centre.

A heat recovery pump will recycle waste heat from the data centre for use within its local district heating network.

The grant will also be used to improve roof and pipework insulation in a number of university buildings.

The work is part of the university’s commitment to become net zero by 2040.

It is tackling climate change across all activities, including how it operates its estate, what it buys and invests in, the teaching and research it undertakes, its partnerships, and travel.

And a first priority is to minimise emissions, and alongside the new Scottish Government grant, the university is allocating £28m from its own capital investment plan for carbon reduction projects.

Technologies will include air and ground source heat pumps and solar energy, including a solar farm at the Easter Bush campus.

Since 2016, 140 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects have reduced emissions across its sites by a projected 400 tonnes of CO₂e.

“The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges we face”, said Catherine Martin, vice principal of corporate services at the university.

“We have a clear commitment to take positive action to address our impact on the climate and ultimately reach our institutional goal of being net zero by 2040.

“We need a co-ordinated approach to these activities and the funding from the Scottish Government will support our efforts to generate solutions and sustainably adapt the way we operate.”

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