Data centre heat to be reused in University buildings

Edinburgh will receive nearly £2.1million – alongside £520,000 of its own funding – to support the 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.

Data processing can be very energy intensive, resulting in high amounts of

heat production. 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.

Significant investment

The University – along with Fife and North Lanarkshire Councils – is among the first seven projects to share grants for clean heating and energy efficiency improvements from the £20 million boost.

The funding is part of a £200 million commitment to public sector energy efficiency and renewable heating schemes over the next five years, under a £1.8 billion Scottish Government plan to decarbonise Scotland’s buildings.

Carbon reduction

The University has set its own ambitious targets to respond to the climate emergency and has committed to become zero carbon 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.

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 the University is using to reach its net zero goals include air and ground source heat pumps and solar energy, such as a solar farm at the Easter Bush campus.

Since 2016, 140 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects have reduced the University’s emissions by a projected 400 tonnes of CO₂e. 

“The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges we face. The University of Edinburgh has 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 coordinated 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.” – Catherine Martin Vice Principal Corporate Services, University of Edinburgh