Solar power at The Saïd Business School

In 2011 the University of Oxford set itself an ambitious target to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 33% by the end of 2020/21 – against its 2005/6 baseline. A carbon reduction programme was developed and teams across Estates Services have worked together on carbon reduction initiatives including lighting upgrades and boiler replacements. The work of the programme is now focusing on the installation of renewable energy systems.

Scope 1: These are emissions that arise directly from sources that are owned or controlled by the University, for example; fuels used in our boilers or the vehicles that departments and Estate Management own.

Scope 2: These are the emissions generated by purchased electricity, steam and heat consumed by the University.  

The Project:

In July 2015, The Saïd Business School became one of the first University buildings, alongside the Bodleian Book Storage Facility at Swindon and the Malthouse, to install solar panels. This is the start of a much wider programme of solar PV installations across the estate. 

The Challenges:

This project was hindered by the installation restriction of 50kW. Potential for 150kW was identified on the roof of the Business School, but because of the Oxfordshire-wide network infrastructure upgrades the University will not be able to install to full capacity until after 2019.

An initial and practical problem was establishing the best method of getting the panels up onto the roof. The most obvious option was by crane, but with the substantial road works already taking place in the area this was not feasible.

The panels were hand-loaded onto a scissor lift to take them up the side of the building, and then carried across the roof into position. This manual labour caused an extra day’s work in the installation plan but enabled minimum disruption to the public and the functioning of the Business School.

Another issue was preserving the exterior look of the building from the street and also establishing the affect the installation might have on the surprisingly large number of windows, roads and outdoor areas that have sight of the Business School. Therefore, an extensive review of what was visible, and from where, was carried out in advance so that the panels would be hidden. 

The Outcome:

The Said Business School PV

The project went smoothly and enjoyed the full support of the team at the Business School.  Matt Davies (Director of Estates, Saïd Business School) says: ‘We want to lead the way in sustainability and the installation of the PV panels complements the projects which have taken place inside the building.

‘The Building Management team has carried out a lighting upgrade which has switched us over to LED. And Estates Services installed a ground source heat exchange, solar thermal technology and a rain water harvesting system when the building was built.

‘Next on the agenda will be the optimisation of the Building Management System (BMS).’

The 152 panels will produce around 40,719kW over a year, providing electricity savings of £4k and a reduction in carbon emissions of roughly 20 tonnes* per annum.

*1 tonne of carbon is the equivalent of filling around 2.4 million party balloons with gas. 

Published January 2016