Saturday, July 20, 2024

HI Group Partners with MidKent College to Become Britain’s Greenest College

HI Group, a leading force in driving innovation and sustainable transformation has engineered an ambitious sustainability initiative in partnership with MidKent College, putting the college on track to become the greenest of its kind in Britain.

With the signing of contracts on 13 May 2024, the College is set to replace its fossil fuel based heating system at the Maidstone and Medway campuses as it embarks on an £11m green energy retrofit. True to MidKent’s strategic goal to spearhead an ambitious decarbonisation initiative for the further education (FE) sector, the investment marks a substantial step towards sustainability, enabling the college to transition its two locations entirely off gas for its energy needs by March 2025*.

The groundbreaking move, thanks to Government funding under the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, and principal contractor CBRE, echoes the growing environmental concerns of its 8000-strong student body and will serve to satisfy the demands of prospective students who, more and more, are seeking institutions that provide environmentally responsible education.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is run by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and delivered by Salix Finance.

Identifying the most effective and viable green energy solution for the college has been the result of two years’ worth of extensive analysis and meticulous planning by HI Group.

This has included environmental audits encompassing energy and water supply across a complex site of buildings cross the two campuses. The results have formed the foundation of a detailed emissions reduction strategy and a five-step energy retrofit plan which entails:

  1. Electrification of heating via installation of renewable electricity-powered heat pumps
  2.  On-site renewable power generation through extensive solar PV systems, including a rooftop solar system and a unique vertical solar façade featuring college branding
  3. A solar car port will also be installed which will be the one of the largest arrays of its type in the UK
  4.  Optimisation of energy use with battery storage and smart controls for economic energy management
  5.  Installation of new domestic hot water systems

MidKent’s journey follows a successful blueprint created by the Nottinghamshire-based environmental consultancy for Gloucestershire College where a remarkable 70% reduction in GHG emissions was achieved in the first 12 months following its adoption of green energy.

The college’s commitment is not just an institutional responsibility but a strategic move to influence future generations and the wider community towards sustainability, whilst also positioning the FE sector as a pioneering force to deliver low carbon operations well ahead of government targets. 

Martin Peat, Executive Director of Finance and Estates at MidKent, explains: “HI Group and CBRE’s appointments mark a pivotal step towards realising our ambitious vision of sustainable campuses. Their expertise aligns seamlessly with our commitment to combat climate change by transitioning to renewable energy sources. Together, we’re poised to lead by example in creating environmentally conscious educational spaces for generations to come.”

With significant funding secured by HI Group via grants from the Department for Education and Salix Finance, initial preparations on site are already underway and a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for this June. Completion is anticipated by the end of February 2025.

To find out more about the project, please visit MidKent College.

This article appeared in the June 2024 issue of Energy Manager magazine. Subscribe here.

Further Articles