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This-12 month project, implementing an innovative renewable heat network at the college, will eliminate oil heating on site, replace end-of-life heating plant, save the college on its heating costs and reduce carbon emissions from the college’s heating by 80%

Contracts to deliver a heat network project at Comberton Village College in Cambridge have been agreed by the Cam Academy Trust, Cambridgeshire County Council and Bouygues Energies & Services. The project will replace aging oil boilers throughout the site with a network distributing heat – in rooms and for hot water - to the buildings on site. The heat will be supplied by 705 kW thermal of ground source heat pumps installed in the main plant room which will extract heat from an array of 200m deep boreholes in the college’s car parks through underground pipes.

The low carbon heat network will reduce carbon emissions from the college’s heating by 233 tonnes of CO2e (a 66% reduction) in the first year. As the grid electricity used to drive the ground source heat pumps is further decarbonised, this saving will increase to 313 tonnes (an 89% reduction) in year twenty. The project will take the secondary school completely off oil heating and replace oil boilers, that were approaching the end of their life, in ten different plant rooms. As well as reducing carbon, the project will save the college around £40,000 per annum compared to the cost of operating and maintaining oil heating.

The trust and the council have secured £1.9 million of grant funding towards the £3 million capital cost of the project from Phase 2 of the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. The rest of the funding is coming from Cambridgeshire County Council which has agreed a lease with the trust. This will allow the council to recover its investment, while the trust will still deliver a saving. A key feature of the agreement is a performance guarantee on the projected energy savings.

The project will be delivered by Bouygues Energies & Services for Cambridgeshire County Council under the terms of the Re:fit3 Framework Agreement. The Re:fit programme is a successful, national framework, developed by the Greater London Authority and Local Partnerships, for energy efficiency and local energy generation projects in the public sector. 

The Cambridgeshire region emits around 6.1 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from homes and businesses annually (approximately 1.7 percent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions). This project will act as a strong example for other schools and other regions undertaking their own clean energy transition.

Councillor Lorna Dupré, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Environment & Green Investment Committee, said:

“Our vision is to deliver net-zero carbon emissions for Cambridgeshire and to bring forward the target for this from 2050 towards 2030. The Comberton Village College project is a great example of how we are working in partnership with our stakeholders to deliver this. The low carbon heat network will not only ensure that we are doing our part to tackle climate change, but also serve as an exemplar for retrofit decarbonisation of heating on other sites.”

Miles Messenger, Head of Energy Performance Contracting at Bouygues Energies & Services, stated:

“We are thrilled to be supporting Cambridgeshire County Council and Cam Academy Trust in the delivery of this pioneering low carbon heat network to Comberton Village College. The project will showcase how retrofitting renewable energy technology and heat network installation can deliver a significant long-term reduction in carbon emissions, reliable heat and address the college’s future lifecycle costs. Whilst projects like this are novel now, we expect that they will become a new norm in future years, as we move away from fossil-fuelled combustion to heat our buildings.” 

Stephen Munday, Cam Academy Trust Chief Executive, said:

“The Cam Academy Trust is delighted that such a major energy project is to take place at Comberton Village College. With a major grant from national Government and support from the County Council this has been possible. It will mean that the whole school site will move over from reliance on oil for heating and receive this from ground source in the future. This is environmentally extremely desirable and fits with the Trust’s desire to support environmentally friendly projects and ways of working moving forward. In the long run it will also be financially beneficial to the school, meaning that more of the school’s funding can be focussed where we would want it to be: on education.”

Comberton College

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