Corpus Christi College's EcoSync-Driven Transformation in Energy Efficiency
Corpus Christi College, a prestigious institution within the University of Oxford, manages an extensive and varied portfolio of student housing and accommodation buildings across Oxford. Efficiently managing energy across such a diverse property range necessitates a sophisticated and tailored energy management strategy.
The college's primary objective was to minimise energy costs and carbon emissions, particularly in student accommodations. With budget constraints being a significant consideration, the college explored various energy-saving options. Traditional methods like installing energy-efficient windows or thermal cladding were initially considered. However, the high upfront costs, complex procurement processes, and disruptive installation methods made these options less viable. This led the college to explore innovative solutions, ultimately choosing EcoSync's cloud-based platform.
The college encountered several key challenges:
- The inefficiency of heating empty rooms across numerous buildings leads to substantial energy wastage.
- The absence of dynamic heating control and real-time visibility in the existing system.
- Escalating gas prices added financial pressure to the college's energy management strategy.
The project's feasibility hinged on finding an effective, minimally disruptive solution that could integrate seamlessly into the existing infrastructure.
The project kicked off in January 2022 with the initial installation of 32 devices at No. 68 Banbury Road. The initiative then expanded to include 354 devices across 11 buildings. The tangible reductions in energy consumption seen in the initial phases were corroborated by gas bill comparisons, substantiating the ROI and justifying further expansion.
The college implemented EcoSync's innovative, cloud-based heat management system. This system offered remote and individualised control of heating, providing real-time, room-by-room energy usage analytics. The technology involved retrofitting battery-free Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) and intelligently controlling heating. These devices gathered 32 pieces of data every five minutes, including air temperature, radiator valve position, and hot water flow temperature, offering a comprehensive view of energy usage.
Stakeholder Buy-in and Engagement:
The project received enthusiastic support from stakeholders such as facility managers, maintenance staff, and students. The transparency of energy savings and improved comfort levels significantly contributed to this widespread endorsement. The use of in-room scannable QR codes allowed building occupants to engage directly with the system, fostering an environment of environmentally and fiscally responsible behaviour.
Project Evaluation/Savings Achieved/Lessons Learnt:
From January to October 2022, the project achieved a saving of 25,056 kWh of energy, equivalent to preventing 1,650 kg of CO2 emissions – akin to the carbon absorption of 66 trees over a year. The overall energy savings were about 45%. This initiative highlighted the effectiveness of smart, data-driven energy management systems in reducing costs and carbon footprints.
Recognition and Awards:
The project's innovation and effectiveness in energy management were recognised when it won the Climate Crisis Initiative Prize at Property Week’s Student Accommodation Awards 2023. This recognition not only highlighted the project's success but also set a precedent for other institutions to follow in sustainable energy management.
Encouraged by the success and recognition, the college plans to continue its energy efficiency journey. Discussions for installing an additional 150 controllers are in progress, which would further cement the college's commitment to sustainable energy management.
Additional Insights and Added Value:
EcoSync's solution provided significant added value by enhancing overall comfort across the college's properties. The system's continuous monitoring of the entire heating system allowed for the identification of inefficiencies and potential issues, such as stuck radiator pins or boilers being left on during the summer. The integration with room booking systems and the ability to identify high-consumption rooms opened further avenues for energy conservation. The system's ability to provide control and insight over every room in the college's portfolio, along with user-friendly interfaces, contributed to fewer complaints and an overall reduction in energy wastage.
Validation and Results:
The savings achieved were validated through a comprehensive methodology, which involved comparing EcoSync data with gas meter readings and control buildings. This process confirmed the effectiveness of the EcoSync solution in real-world scenarios. The college experienced savings across all buildings, particularly notable in Kybald House and Banbury Road, where the savings were verified against gas meters.
Environmental Impact and Community Engagement:
The project's environmental impact extended beyond energy savings. It fostered a culture of environmental awareness and responsibility among the college community. The visibility of energy savings through EcoSync’s Carbon Meter and in-room QR codes encouraged responsible energy use among students and staff, aligning with the college's broader sustainability goals.
Corpus Christi College's energy management journey with EcoSync is a testament to the power of innovative solutions in addressing environmental and financial challenges in energy management. The project's success in achieving significant energy savings, reducing carbon emissions, and winning prestigious awards sets a benchmark for similar institutions seeking sustainable energy solutions.
Discover for yourself the huge cost-saving and environmental benefits of the EcoSync heating and energy control system. Email our consultants today at: [email protected]