As part of University of Galway’s fight against climate change, it’s been an exceptional year for the Energy Team, delivering numerous initiatives that have enabled the University to exceed the targets set out in the University’s Sustainability Strategy 2020-2025.
As a public body, University of Galway has been mandated to reduce energy by 15% across the campus, as part of measures announced by the government. The President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh has set up a working group to manage the challenges around energy reduction focusing on areas of Operations, Research and Behaviour. Plans for the first all-campus energy audit of equipment across all laboratories, research spaces and offices are underway, which will allow us to establish a baseline of energy used outside of daily operations energy usage. The challenge of reducing energy through changes in behaviour will be focussed on targeted information and awareness, raising campaigns and publishing of live energy data, linking in with the ReduceYourUse campaign led by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Government.
Head of Building Services, Energy and Utilities at University of Galway, Michael Curren, says “In operations, the team has successfully completed the handover of the first major decarbonisation project on campus. Áras de Brun is part of the SEAI/Higher Education Authority (HEA) Pathfinder Pilot program, with a particular focus on the challenges of decarbonisation of heat, maximising energy and achieving significant carbon reduction. The works included the installation of a new 205kw Air to Water heat pump; a 3,000 litre buffer vessel; a state-of-the-art Building Management System; new radiators and thermostatic radiator valves; and replacement of LED lighting and controls throughout the building.”
The Áras de Brun project will serve as a living laboratory, enabling IRUSE researchers to monitor and report on the findings from the newly installed technologies and to translate these findings through their course curriculum. Masters students in Energy have been working with the design team generating Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) simulation models and data sets for the project, allowing the students to monitor data for the next two years and develop real world strategy models with the operations team.