ENERGY CHAMPION WINNER: Education – Universities – University of Bradford


In 2006 the University resolved to regenerate the estate in a sustainable manner as part of the Ecoversity programme. Ecoversity was designed to embed sustainability in everything it does, including teaching and in the operation and development of the estate. Creating a low carbon estate at the University of Bradford has been at the heart of the institution wide Ecoversity sustainability programme since 2006 and is one of the five corporate objectives of the University. Though we are not at the end of the programme a decade on it is a very good time to take stock of achievements to date.

2014 – 2015

The year 2014/15 have seen a continuation of the journey, albeit with a change of focus realigning our strategy to address issues around protecting the University from security of supply issues and volatile utility prices that are widely predicted in forthcoming years, but still aggressively chasing down savings and increasing efficiencies in building performance.

By the start of 2014 (Aug) the University’s scope 1&2 carbon reduction from the 2005/6 baseline was 33% and at out turn of 2015 (Jul) was 35%. Refer to attached 2015 sustainability turn out report. This has been achieved by a multi-strand approach of:


  • Improving the performance of the older building stock by cladding and installing new control system and more efficient equipment.
  • Refurbishments and new build projects putting building performance at the heart of each project.
  • Restructured the team to include Building Service Technicians; one of their core roles is to identify anomalous and energy use and wastage and apply on-site solutions either on their own initiative or in collaboration with the mechanical and electrical maintenance teams as well as fine tune the BEMS.
  • Work with building occupiers/users to improve behaviours

details of the building(s)

The University’s built environment consists of 28 buildings split over two campuses with a floor area of 124,000 m2. Most of the buildings are located on City Campus, the vast majority of the buildings on the estate were built between: 1964–1977. City campus was built on a city centre brownfield site that was formerly back-to-back housing.

The buildings are roughly split 65% teaching and 35% research, with 12,000 students and 2,500 members of staff. Campuses maps attached.

Most of the buildings on the estate were built during an era where building performance was not a high consideration and nearly half a decade later most where semi-fit for for purpose.

We are extremely proud of our World Class sustainable campus that we have created and the journey we have been on. City Campus in Bradford is the only place in the World where a single estate has three BREEAM Outstanding and a Passivhaus building within less than a 100m of each other. We are equally proud of our achievements in reducing our carbon emissions and dramtically reducing our utility costs by 27% in a market that has risen by 90% in the same period accruing an aggregated savings of £8m over business as usual.

evidence of specific FM measures

Our mantra as far as buildings are concerned is very much fabric first and our initial efforts on improving the performance of buildings is to try and get the building fabric to work as hard as it can before applying building services engineering solutions. This way we can simplify and make any consequential engineering improvements. To this end in 2014/15 we overclad two buildings a 13 storey 33,940 sqm and 3 storey 8,500 sqm workshop block, both are 1960s buildings. The Trend BEMS was re-engineered to suit. We we carry out building works be it new build of or refurbishments we always use our sustainability specification which is very much targets a fabric first approach and minimizing mechanical an electrical intervention, this specification has stood us in good stead for a number of years. It is modified on a project-by-project basis and the STEM Building one is included too.

We have have a complex and in part aging engineering infrastructure that requires constant and close management to ensure it operated in the most efficient manner. During 2015 we moved our site wide Trend BEMS to be server based operation, this allows any member of the team to access the BEMS from either a hand held devices or desk top ones, where ever they are in clading remove and out of hours access, which allows easier and quicker diagnostics. To address legacy issues we have a number of rolling programmes:

  • Installation of LED lighting internally and externally (concentrating on lecture theatres, corridors and Golden routes).
  • Installation of lighting controls
  • Replacing transformers
  • Pump replacement
  • Engineering and control improvements to the district heating network
  • Replacing calorifiers for plate heat exchangers
  • Expansion of the BEMS
  • Review and optimisation of compressed air
  • Rolling energy audits
  • Identifying water usage
  • A/C review
  • Consult with users over operating times
  • Installation of 2nd CHP and optimisation of the existing plant

We have a strategy were we operate TREND BEMS in conjunction with a web based real time circuit by metering to a number of our fume cupboards and other high energy plant as well as on small power and lighting and equipment across the estate which allows us very quickly to identify and act on anomalous usage as well as see if equipment is being operating correctly and advise the users accordingly if it is an operational issue.

We actively discourage the use and installation of comfort cooling across the estate and focus on providing good quality natural ventilation, this is not always the easiest of options to pursue and achieve technically also it needs skill in managing user expectations.
evidence of improvement in actual performance


Over an extended period the team have aggressively chased down campus wide energy demand the university and 2014 – 2015 has seen this journey continue and in this period has gone from and energy intensive consumer of energy to an institution that not only has significantly reduced its base load but has moved to a significant exporter and even in the winter months where we now export overnight and all weekends as demonstrated by the attached half hour hourly data comparisons clearly demonstrates our continued progress.

2014/15 Performance Data


Above is the 2014/15 summary we have also attached our full performance data, which includes: Scope 1&2 emissions, electricity, gas water, construction waste and scope 3 emissions, which we only record.

DECs/BRE Case study

The University’s DECs have improved year on year ( All 2015 DECs attached). of particular pride to the FM team is the 22,000 sqm JBPL Library. This building was built between 1973 and 1975, which was as recently as 2008 an G rated building, but achieved an A rated DEC in 2015. The BRE case study is attached. The refurbishment in 2010/11 was the catalyst and raised it to a C rated building. The estates built on this and raised it to an A 9 rated building (DEC below), we believe this is a real achievement as the building operates 24/7. This was achieved by making a real effort to understand the needs of the building and its nature of operation fine tuning the performance and taking time to understand how the building and interrogating the plant operation.



During 2015 the University added two more BREEAM Outstanding buildings (the Bright Building and STEM) to its portfolio of 4 other existing BREEAM buildings making it one of the very organistions with three BREEAM outstanding buildings.

bradford-4 bradford-5


The STEM building was the first Passivhaus science laboratory in the UK and the only one to also be awarded BREEAM Outstanding. Video produced by the Passivhaus Trust.

BSRIA Bench marking

In 2015 the Estates team submitted the University’s 2013/14 utility data, this was bench marked against 87 other organisations, which included three other higher education institutions and the private sector. the University’s utility performance compared extremely favourably with most other organisations that submitted data particularly the University’s research lab buildings which were identified as being extremely efficient with most of the other of the University’s building below the median or within tolerable limits. The BSRIA report is attached as is an internal report which identifies and extracts the University’s buildings against the BSRIA report (EVIDENCE H)

2015 Sustainability report

We regularly and routinely report carbon reduction and sustainability and the associated business benefits to the University senior management. The 2015 sustainability report to the University’s senior management is attached.

Brite Green Report

During 2015 sustainability consultants Brite Green published an independent report on all universities in the UK progress against their carbon reduction targets. It placed the University of Bradford in the top 10 Universities in country with a 40.24% absolute carbon reduction.

Brite Green further highlighted the University of Bradford is one of a handful of University’s to be on course to achieve its 2020 carbon reduction target as set out in its carbon management plan. The Brite green report and league tables are attached.


UI Green Metric

The UI Green Metric published Feb 2015 placed the University of Bradford 6th in the World out of 360 Universities Worldwide for sustainability and carbon reduction.


Design Curial

During 2015 Design Curial undertook an independent survey and ranked the University of Bradford the 8th Greenest University for architecture in the World, the highest ranked UK University.


Full article can be view here:

Provide evidence of user feedback on the building(s) or portfolio and satisfaction with the measures adopted.

We utilise a wide range of user feedback to inform projects going forward and how we operate the estate. However, we adopt different approaches to suit different circumstances. For larger projects we normally carry out in parallel a user engagement project.

The Bright Building users were surveyed using a standardised methodology (below)


On smaller projects we have a template that gathers user feedback samples are attached that the project coordinators compile after occupation.

Staff and students have an opportunity via the Estates helpdesk software service “Service Now” to make any observations around building environment they wish, which allows the team to respond to users need accordingly.

Every 18 month the University undertakes a workplace survey of all staff members and as part of this survey staff have the opportunity feedback on their environmental condition of their work place and this allows us to obtain an understanding of what occupants view is of the building environment.

evidence of collaboration

It is of paramount importance we understand how the users want and need their buildings to operate, to allow us to optimise the performance of the building to best suit their needs. To get this right it requires close collaboration and engagement. This can be challenging at times because of the diverse nature of the university’s business and wide range of demands. However, we put focused effort in try to achieve this.

We work closely with the student union particularity around their clubs and societies which most of their activities invariably take place ‘out of hours. We work closely with the union to ensure that these activities take place in rooms and areas that have discrete control in terms of heating and ventilation therefore these activities can be grouped together or placed into buildings that allow the most effective use of the building and ensure that buildings and areas that don’t need to be in occupancy are out of occupancy.

We work closely with our colleagues in the Faculty of Life Sciences as they are one the university’s most energy intensive users with respect to both teaching and research. We have installed web based real time metering on a wide range and number of their fume cupboards, which if required they can access to. This allows us assess the usage patterns and advise of more effective patterns of operation.

We work hand in glove with the staff in the sports centre and do from time to time allow them access to BEMS and as a consequence they now have a rigorous regime of switching sports equipment off at the end of each working day. We have carried a similar exercise out with catering staff but using the web based on line metering.

special challenges

There have been significant number of challenges, the age of the estate being a significant one. The vast majority of the estate was developed and built in the 1960s and early 1970s and most of the buildings have all the ills of buildings built in this era, poor thermal performance, high asbestos content, blown air heating, large areas of single glazing. Prior to 2006 the estate had very little investment into it from when it was originally built. Most of infrastructure and services were rapidly approaching 50 years old. Whilst the University has come a long way since then there are still legacy issues arising from the above issues that present challenges today, both logistical and cost issues. To resolve these legacy issues they when the Estates team in late 2014 restructure it was identified as a key issue and two new posts were of mechanical and electrical Building Services Technicians created. One of their core roles is to identify anomalous and energy use and wastage and apply on-site solutions either on their own initiative or in collaboration with the mechanical and electrical maintenance teams.

Funding has been a challenge at times and we have had to look to external sources such as SALIX and HEFCE for loans. For example in late 2015 we were awarded £1.9m from HEFCE/SALIX Revolving Green Fund 4 to develop a micro smart grid which is currently being installed. We made a case to the University to allow us to keep savings from the utility budget to allow us to reinvest in energy/carbon reduction initiatives.

Managing users expectations and getting them to fully appreciate how their environment works and what they can expect can be extremely challenging. It often requires early engagement and a face to explanation in a none technical speak to explain.

evidence of training and education initiatives

We recognise we have to continually develop the whole to team in what has become an extremely mobile industry. An example of this the energy manager, who originally came from Bradford Council on a Future Fund placement during march 2011, with a degree in environmental science. She has worked her way through the department until in July 2013 she was appointed to the post of Technical Officer (Energy) and since been responsible for reporting an managing the Univerities utility portfolio. In Sept 2014 she started am HNC in Mechanical Engineering at Wakefield College. We also proactively develop other team members too in a similar manner and a number of the team have come through the ranks by being developed as can be seen below.

We also engage with our academic colleagues and are developing a relationship where the estate can be used as a teaching tool, by allowing access to the BEMS and metering data, we have worked particularly closely with Dr. Haile-Selassie Rajamani who is conducting work on energy storage and smart grids. Various members of the team give an annual guest lecture to first year engineering students as part of their sustainability module, we also give students tours of the estate and give information and data for final year dissertations.

We are corporate members of a number of organisations and associations and as such take advantage of the respective knowledge bases and training activities:

  • AUDE (Association of Directors of Estates)
  • AUE (Association of University Engineers)
  • AECB (Association of Environmental Builders)
  • EAUC (Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges)
  • MUEC (Major Users of Energy Council)
  • Nov 2013: Environmental Officer BUS Methodology training
  • Oct 2014: M&E Project Coordinators BSRIA Building regulations course.
  • Sept 2014: M&E Building Services Technicians and Plant Attendantt Trend BEMS 963 operators course (3 day).
  • May 2015: M&E Building Services TREND BEMS Advanced 963 system engineering course (3 day).
  • July 2015: Technical Officer (Energy) BSRIA Fundamentals of Project Management.

As well as develop our staff, we are of the opinion it is of paramount importance to share our knowledge and as such we contribute to outside bodies.

  • Calderdale Council: Assisted develop their Energy Future Strategy.
  • Through the AUE advise HEFCE/SALIX RGF programme.
  • Have a member of staff who sits on the AUDE Sustainabilty Action Group.

We have disseminated our experience and shared our journey with number of presentations to external bodies and conferences:

  • Nov 2013: Green Visions “Sustainable Material in Buildings”
  • Mar 2014: UK/India Conference “Creating a Sustainable Estate”.
  • Oct 2014: Passivhaus Trust National Conference “STEM@BRADFORD A Passivhaus Science Building”.
  • Dec 2014: University of Huddersfield guess lecture “Creating a Sustainable Estates” (Final year under graduate architecture students)
  • Feb 2015: Inside Government: “Addressing an Uncertain Energy Future”
  • Oct 2015: University of Huddersfield guest lecture (final year under grad architecture students) “Changing Face of the Estate”
  • Nov 2015: Greenbuild Conference STEM@BRADFORD – A Science Passivhaus Building”

Further information

It has been a massive team effort to achieve what have to date and the buy-in has be every team member to our goals and targets has been phenomenal, and we couldn’t achieved what we have with out this team ethos.

Since our success in 2012 when our carbon reduction was at 16% we believe we have built on this significantly and in many respects where we are today in carbon reduction and building performance is more impressive as all the low hanging fruit have been taken, but we don’t intend to standstill.

The dramatic reduction in our carbon emissions from our built environment we believe has set an example of what can be achieved within traditional resource levels with a largely 1960s/70s estate and the associated business benefit. We would like to believe it sends a strong message out to the sector, the construction industry and beyond as we carry on with our journey decarbonising, saving money and creating revenue streams.

We are always looking forward and during 2015 we developed our future plans and we have it branded Bradford:50@50 PID attached. The University is currently approaching its 50th Anniversary as a University. As way of celebrating this milestone the Estates developed a new carbon reduction programme branded Bradford:50@50, which aims to close out the 50% carbon reduction target in the University’s 50th anniversary year. Bradford:50@50 has four strands to ensure the University has an energy/financially secure future:

  • 1: Creating a micro smart grid
  • 2: Preparing the infrastructure and teams to maximise external opportunities
  • 3: Carry on reducing the base load/building fabric improvements linked to a University wide behaviour change programme.
  • 4: Increased investment to modernise the infrastructure