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Our Initiatives

Lighting replacements:

Estates has been replacing lighting year-on year with lighting schemes and refurbishment projects.
All lights replaced around campus for the last decade or two have been of the high frequency electronic types with “thinner” more efficient T5 & T8 tube types.
Recently advance s in fluorescent fittings have meant that even thinner and more efficient T5 tubes are now available.

Cardiff University have over the years,  pioneered a number of lighting control advances with  one building trialling special  “sensa” fittings that pick up daylight and occupancy for both dimming and switching controls in each fitting. Modern developments from these initial prototypes are now becoming industry standard in the lighting control industry.
The Arts and Social Studies Library had all of its old surface mounted switch-start fittings removed a few years ago and replaced with new surface mounted high frequency types with occupancy control, saving over 30 tonnes of CO2 per annum.



Last year a major refurbishment of the lower floor meant that quite a number of these new fittings were removed for recessed fittings in new ceilings. These fittings, being so new, were carefully stored and have been recycled in many of the University’s campus buildings to save on costs of new fittings.
Many corridors in refurbished areas are now being fitted with sensors to switch lights off when not in use.


Pumps and Motors:

Nearly all of the large heating/cooling pumps and motors around he University have been fitted with Variable Speed Devices (VSDs). Not only can these control the speed of the motors and pumps (rather than regulate the flows by restricting/ throttling back on valves) but the controls provided soft-start routines to ease any stresses on the systems on start-up.

Sustainable pump


A common analogy of this set-up is to drive a car with the throttle on full and use the brake to control the speed….. the VSD’s slow the fuel down to the motors/pumps in place of the braking effect of restricted flows.

The VSDs can provide part-wave power inputs to their associated pumps and motors thus saving many hundreds if not thousands of pounds over many years of service.
Any motors needing replacement or new ones are being fitted are being specified as ultra-high efficiency types (type IE3 to IEC60034-30) to save running costs on the motors themselves too.

Automatic Power Factor Controls:

These energy saving devices are fitted on most of our large-scale supply intake points around campus to keep our “power” being bought as efficient as possible.


Pool Rooms:

Estates have been involved over the past 10 years with rolling pool room refurbishments. Many pool rooms benefit from occupancy control energy saving measures where the ventilation, heating, lighting AND projectors are automatically switched off when the rooms are not in use.
The pool room heating and ventilation can be put into a lower “sleep” mode so as to “jump” back into life once occupancy is detected.

Electrical Transformers:

Estates have been replacing the high voltage distribution 11,000 volt supply transformers with high efficiency low-loss versions as and when replacements have been required or when projects have needed more capacity.
Even more super high efficiency extra-low-loss amorphous–core types are now being used to squeeze even more efficiencies out of these pieces of equipment. The first one has already been fitted to feed power to the Humanities building.

sustainable transformer


Over 11 megawatts of transformer capacity has been changed already giving a year-on-year saving of over 110 tonnes of CO2 arising out of these replacements.
Remember even the smallest of low voltage transformers  (like ones used for phone charging) can use power when left on!



Many toilets around campus have being refurbished under the Estates rolling maintenance programme.  
More toilets are being considered for refurbishment each year as their overall conditions dictate.
The toilets and wash hand basins are incorporating low water usage cisterns/pans, and no-touch hygienic controls systems are being installed wherever possible as well as occupancy detection on lighting and toilet extract fans for further energy savings.


Estates have a rolling programme of boiler replacements with old inefficient boilers being replaced with modern high efficient types with condensing boilers fitted wherever possible.
The full range of boilers from commercial ones in larger campus buildings

sustainable commercial boiler


to….. …domestic types in residential properties are all being targeted as and when replacements are needed.

sustainable domestic boiler


Over 3 megawatts of boiler output have now been replaced over the past five or six years with many more to go! Immediate savings of around 25% of gas consumption from these boilers is being achieved.
All of our boilers are serviced and recalibrated (and landlord’s safety certificates issued on RESID boilers) on an annual basis to keep them as efficient and as safe as possible.


Fume Cupboards:

There are huge energy demands from over 400 fume cupboards used at Cardiff University, not only from the fans and motors to suck the fumes out of them but with the amount of conditioned supply air needed to replace the extract air used.

sustainable fume cupboard

Most older-style fume cupboards need to suck out at a minimum velocity of 0.5metres/second of air at a 500mm sash height to achieve the correct containment for the operators’ safety, air which all has to be replaced with tempered supply air.  Many fume cupboards are operated continuously on a 24/7 basis which is always an expensive running cost for the University let alone the carbon emissions produced from this.
Each old-style fume cupboard left on can individually use around 6 tonnes of CO2 per annum!

Estates have been involved in fitting a number of low-flow fume cupboards capable of running at 0.3 metres/second (and even lower if conditions permit!) giving a full 20% saving for each new cupboard installed

sustainable lowflow cupboard


This equates to over 5p per hour running cost saving and a potential saving if left on 24/7 (as above) of around 1.2 tonnes of CO2 per annum per fume cupboard.
Estates specifications for new works and refurbishment projects now call for all cupboards to be of the low-velocity types wherever possible.
The University Fume Cupboard working group chaired by OHSEU is therefore working closely with users to incorporate energy saving cupboards wherever possible.

Renewable Schemes:

Renewable energy sources are being considered on all new projects and have been fitted on the last two major capital projects.
The new Optometry building is controlled by an innovative ground source well heating/cooling system meaning very little (if any) boilers are ever needed to be used. Dozens of pipes were driven around 100 metres into the ground to pick up the soil temperature conditions to drive super-efficient heat pumps to give both heating at around 35-45 0 C heating medium and 6-8 0 C chilled water cooling medium.
The Talybont Court student residences have all of their hot water cylinders pre-heated by solar panels first before the need to top them up with immersion heaters.

sustainable solar panel


A set of Small Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) photovoltaic panels are also fitted on the rooftop of Talybont Court to provide  up to 3kW of power back into the Talybont network.

Both of these building managed to achieve BREEAM “very good” awards for their energy efficiency ratings with excellent marks for over 75% of the marked criteria.