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Marjon Zero

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.

Marjon Zero - Zero Carbon by 2030

Phase one of Marjon Zero is already complete. In 2020 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 was completed in 2022. This involved one of the biggest ground source heat pump installations in England, 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.

Green Gown Awards Finalists 2022

What is Marjon Zero?

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.

Aerial photo of 2000 solar panels on Marjon campus

What is decarbonisation?

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.

What is a ground source heat pump?

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.

More Information

At Marjon, we believe we have a commitment to achieving a sustainable campus for everyone in our community. Plymouth Marjon University wishes to educate and be an example of how you can live sustainably. So, if you want to get involved with Marjon Zero follow the links below. You can also read our Sustainability Policy and Strategy and find our more about our Sustainability Team. 

Be kind to others sign with green leaves and grass in the background

What next?

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. 

Show video transcript

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.