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Sustainability in Action: Derby College

How an award-winning project at Derby College’s Broomfield Hall campus replaced fossil-fueled boilers with a thermal system of air- and water-source cascading heat pumps, reducing both energy expenses and carbon emissions.

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Project At-a-Glance:

The opportunity: Help Derby College (UK) decarbonize its Broomfield Hall campus as a part of the United Kingdom’s Public Sector Decarbonization Scheme.

The solution: Replacing existing fossil-fueled boilers with a thermal system of cascading Trane air- and water-source heat pumps.

Sustainability outcomes:

  • 790,000 kWh in annual energy savings
  • Annual reduction of 160 tons of CO2 emissions
  • A People's Choice Award from the European Heat Pump Association

When the United Kingdom’s Derby College Group (DCG) was awarded significant government funding to improve the efficiency of its buildings and reduce its carbon emissions, the network of public colleges looked for strategic, tangible ways to make operations on its four campuses more efficient, more sustainable, and healthier for the nearly 20,000 students served by its programs.

Guided by the long-term, legally binding environmental targets outlined in the UK’s Climate Change Act of 2008, DCG had already committed to taking urgent action to reduce the use of carbon and carbon embedded products and resources on its campuses. With new funding in place from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonization Scheme (PSDS), DCG chose to partner with Trane® to make its bold commitments a reality. The top priority was replacing antiquated coal-burning boilers at Broomfield Hall, a public college offering a variety of land-based programs such as agriculture, equine, and horticulture.

A thermal system of cascading heat pumps

DCG and Trane recognized that a comprehensive, state-of-the-art upgrade of the heating system was essential for preserving the efficiency and sustainability of the Broomfield Hall campus. Trane’s innovative and efficient solution was to install a combination of six air-source and three water-source heating pumps in cascade configuration. The project also provided new centralized plant and distribution pipework, upgraded controls, and thermal storage, allowing for optimized energy use and providing buildings with low-carbon heating and hot water.

In total, the new Broomfield Hall thermal system, part of a wider project that also included the installation of solar panels and new LED lights at the college, will produce 600kW of heating while saving 790,000 kWh in energy consumption and 160 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Award-winning partnerships for a sustainable future

The positive impacts of Trane’s system upgrades to Broomfield Hall have garnered significant attention. In January 2022, the project was included in the UK government’s decarbonization summary report. And in September of that year, the Broomfield Hall project and Trane Technologies received the People’s Choice Award at the European Heat Pump Awards in Brussels.

Broomfield Hall’s sustainable upgrades highlight the far-reaching benefits of strategic partnership and alignment. Programs like the UK's PSDS help fund capital energy efficiency and decarbonization projects with the goal of helping the UK reach its 2050 net-zero commitments. Trane Technologies’ innovative solutions advance its bold, industry-leading 2030 Sustainability Commitments.

“The quality of our estate, and the efficiency with which it is operated, can have real and measurable social, economic and educational impact,” affirms Derby College Group’s Director of Estates Iain Baldwin. “This installation is a step in the right direction for DCG and is a great example of how green, clean energy provision can be utilized on a greenfield site.” 

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