Marjon Zero is an exciting visionary project to make our university one of the greenest in the country, doing our bit to protect the planet. We’re committed to zero carbon by 2030.
Phase one of Marjon Zero is already complete, we installed approximately 2000 solar panels, saving 300 tonnes of carbon per year saved (tCO2e). In phase one we also switched our lighting to energy efficient LEDs and installed five electric vehicle charging stations.
Phase two of Marjon Zero is underway. We now are installing 120 ground source heat pumps which will save 617 tonnes of carbon per year (tCO2e). This is equivalent to the energy use from 65 homes, or burning 1260 barrels of oil or charging 66 million smartphones.
Marjon Zero will provide the campus with one of the cleanest and most renewable ways to heat our buildings and some of our accommodation.
This project is ground-breaking, with Marjon being the first University to implement a ground source heat pumps project of this size, meaning Marjon, its community and the surrounding areas are at the forefront of new sustainability initiatives in the race to net-zero carbon. The project is enabled by grants from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, to the value of £1.8m for solar panels and £3.5m for ground source heat pumps.
Decarbonisation is the term used for the process of removing or reducing the carbon dioxide (CO2) output of the economy.
Currently, a wide range of sectors run largely on fossil fuels, which means that their energy comes from the combustion of fuels like coal, oil or gas. The carbon dioxide emitted from using these fuels acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping in heat and contributing to global warming. By using alternative sources of energy, industries can reduce the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere and can help to slow the effects of climate change.
A ground source heat pump is a central heating and cooling system designed to transfer hear from the ground’s upper layers. This enables us to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
It works by circulating a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe which is buried in the ground. The heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid and then it passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. This heat can then be used to heat radiators buildings, warm air or underfloor hearting systems and hot water. They run constantly and are inexhaustible and virtually silent.
During the project, contractors will be undertaking drilling and trenching work throughout campus. You’ll notice fencing around key areas of campus and some new pedestrian areas will be in operation. These measures are in place to keep our campus community and our visitors safe for the duration of the project. You may experience some drilling noise too, but this noise will be monitored throughout to ensure safe, legal limits are adhered to.
The project will is due to complete on 31 March 2022 and involves bore holes being created on the East Road, St Marks Road and the grass pitches. Site working hours are 9am-5pm and will include weekends. We will be working with the contractors to minimise disruption and noise levels.
The campus will have less parking available for the duration of the project, however, the University does provide free tickets for the George Park and Ride down the road. Tickets can be picked up from reception.
In future phases of the Marjon Zero project we’ll go on to retrofit current buildings and make our campus a greener space by expanding our green social spaces and the biodiversity around campus.
To talk to us about Marjon Zero:
Here at Marjon we’re passionate about the planet. Our ambition in everything we do is to improve lives for all, so we’re committed to doing our bit to protect against climate change and nature loss. We’re going to be a zero carbon campus by 2030.
To achieve this we’re working hard to reduce and remove our carbon dioxide, or CO2, output. This is crucial because carbon dioxide emitted from using fuels like coal, oil or gas acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping in heat and contributing to global warming.
We’ve started our switch to clean and renewable sources of energy. It’s a multi-stage project and we’ve dubbed it Marjon Zero.
We’ve already installed 2000 solar panels, saving 300 tonnes of carbon per year. We’re now installing 120 ground source heat pumps, to save a further 617 tonnes of carbon per year. These will transfer heat from the ground that we’ll then use to heat our buildings and hot water. These two measures alone save the equivalent of the energy used by 100 homes.
That’s not all. We’ve also moved to green electricity supplies, installed LED lights and introduced electric vehicle charging stations and an electric car ownership scheme for staff.
Marjon soon will be one of the greenest universities in the country. By the time the ground source heat pumps are up and running in March 2022 our CO2 emissions will have dropped by 60% compared to 2020 levels. But we’re not stopping there. We’re developing new sustainability initiatives including plans to retrofit our buildings to make them more energy-efficient, and to expand the green spaces and biodiversity on campus. We’re committed to doing our bit to protect the planet.