For over 40 years the University of East Anglia (UEA) has been at the forefront of climate change research. As might be expected from a university with a top-rated School of Environmental Science, UEA is committed to addressing sustainability on its own estates and has done this using low-energy building design, good energy management, incorporating renewable energy sources and raising awareness.
In 2013, as part of a 10-year agreement with Open Energi it became the first UK university to install Dynamic Demand across its campus. As part of a two phase rollout air handling units (AHUs) and chillers totalling up to 1MW have been equipped with the solution and are now adjusting their energy demand automatically to help National Grid balance electricity supply and demand on a second-by-second basis.
The AHUs and chillers only provide balancing services for a few minutes at a time and are always kept within their own performance boundaries, so students and staff feel no impact from the service. The revenue UEA expects to earn from Demand Response will be invested in to future sustainability projects, and will help to cut CO2 emissions from UK power stations.
The project was recognised for “Technical Innovation in Sustainability” at the 2014 Green Gown Awards with the judges remarking: “An interesting application of technology into the HE sector, where the complexity of power demands across a campus can be used to balance the power system. Clear applicability to other areas, and replicable elsewhere. The “invisibility” of the technological fix is also attractive”.