Where there’s a will, there’s an innovative way
The University of St Andrews has a great environmental ambition. It wants to be the first University to be carbon neutral for energy usage. Earlier this year it took a step closer to this ambition with the launch of its new Energy Centre at the Eden Campus at Guardbridge. The £25 million plant produces hot water from a biomass boiler using clean, natural fuels from sustainable sources across Scotland, to heat the University’s buildings and residences.
What makes this project really stand out is that the Energy Centre is 6km from St Andrews’ main campus, North Haugh. Water is heated and then pumped in insulated pipes beneath roads, across a bridge but mostly under private land – a considerable feat of both engineering and working closely with the local community.
Managing the scheme
Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) has been the project manager and cost consultant on the scheme since it started in 2012, when St Andrews purchased an old paper mill site at Guardbridge. We have managed the conversion of part of the site into the new log storage area and Energy Centre, which hosts the biomass boiler, and will shortly complete a full handover. This has been a truly innovative and collaborative project at every turn.
In December 2016, it won a major national award at the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2016 defeating strong competition from across Scotland to take the prestigious Sustainable Development Award, which is a real tribute to all the partners involved.
The project is funded by an £11 million loan from the Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres Fund, a joint Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund initiative, and a £10 million grant from the Scottish Funding Council, with the remaining £4 million coming from the University.
The award-winning project will now deliver significant carbon reductions each year, which is a huge step towards the University’s ambition of carbon neutrality and a great addition to Scotland’s growing sustainable energy infrastructure. In addition, the project has already delivered significant employment and environmental benefits to Fife and the wider community through the Guardbridge Guarantee. Collaboration and innovation working at their best.