It is estimated that the UK’s 115 universities could save up to £13.8m a year if they adopted a new energy management standard from BSI (British Standards Institution).
With the fluctuating price of energy one of the biggest costs for universities, a number of them have approached BSI about a new international standard (ISO 50001) that sets out practical measures to reduce consumption and save money.
Sheffield Hallam University (pictured), one of the UK’s largest universities with around 36,400 students and 4,174 staff, implemented the standard across its facilities between January and May 2012 and has saved £50,000 on its electricity bill so far.
Although Sheffield Hallam is a large university, making its potential savings greater, if such changes were to be adopted by UK universities across the board they could expect to make similar savings to Sheffield Hallam.
Introduced in June 2011, ISO 50001 has been developed with input from experts in 60 countries - making it the first internationally recognised energy management standard and the most comprehensive to date.
The standard outlines practical measures organisations need to implement to reduce energy usage.
These practical measures include insight on energy saving technology (such as smart meters which measure how much you use and when, helping users indirectly lower their bills) as well as guidance on how to measure and document energy consumption and build a culture of energy efficiency.
By reducing universities’ carbon emissions, BSI is also helping them meet their environmental, social and legislative obligations.
Howard Kerr, chief executive, BSI, said, “As central government funding for universities has fallen, many are under an increasing amount of cost pressures. Whilst higher tuition fees are helping plug the gap, the reality is that each of the UK’s 115 universities could save up to £120,000 a year if they implemented the world’s newest energy management standard ISO 50001.
“From installing new energy management technology such as motion sensors, to embedding a culture of energy efficiency, there is a lot more UK universities can do to save money. Working with Sheffield Hallam University, we have saved them a significant amount of money which means it can now allocate more resources to salaries and other essential front lines services.”
Mark Swales, director of estates and facilities at Sheffield Hallam, said, “ISO 50001 is a world class standard and framework for us to build on for the future. Many organisations tendering for research require us to demonstrate our commitment to energy and environmental management and these achievements compliment our world class research.
“These certificates also demonstrate our support to our staff and students through saving money which would be spent on utilities to put back into teaching. I'd like to thank staff in the Facilities Directorate and staff from across our faculties who worked together to help us achieve this.”