The project

Silcock Leedham led the engineering of a decarbonisation project at the University of Nottingham. Specifically, the project involved decarbonising a fossil-fuelled heat network serving the Law and Social Sciences Building and Hallward Library. The campus is served by a gas-fired district heating network (DHN) that is beyond its serviceable life. As part of the university’s carbon-management plan, the two buildings will be removed from the DHN and provided with decarbonised heat sources.

Our contribution

The Silcock Leedham Group delivered a full energy audit on the two buildings by creating detailed virtual energy models. The energy models tested a variety of fabric-first upgrades and decarbonisation options to find an agreeable solution, which has now been taken to RIBA Stage 4 as part of a two-stage tender process. Following the energy modelling outcomes, we produced the technical design through RIBA Stages 2 and 3, producing drawings with fully detailed plant and equipment procurement schedules. This included an electrical upgrade to deliver the power for the heat pump-derived heating energy, along with the associated infrastructure reinforcement to the university’s high-voltage ring main.

Added value

The outcome of the detailed energy modelling informed a Salix Finance grant application to permit the university to seek additional funds to help deliver a reduced-carbon outcome. Detailed thermal modelling helped to evaluate several decarbonisation options after agreement on fabric improvements, including the feasibility and appraisal of an open loop ground source heat pump (subsequently part of the RIBA Stage 4 design). Silcock Leedham and Carbon Zero provided the geological desktop feasibility study. Following the study, RSK began the Environment Agency permit application, water features survey and borehole design. The use of the Sherwood aquifer as a source of energy will help the university realise their carbon aspirations.