UKRI secures £8 million to help decarbonise its estate

Industrial solar panels

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has been awarded £8 million to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions at its facilities.

The grant, from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, is an important step in enabling the organisation to achieve its ambition of being carbon neutral by 2040.

A range of energy-saving projects will be launched this year. They include the installation of:

  • solar panels
  • heat pumps
  • insulation
  • LED lighting.

It is estimated they will reduce total UKRI emissions by 1,100 tonnes of CO2-equivalent a year.

Sites that will benefit from the funding include:

  • the British Geological Survey (Natural Environment Research Council)
  • the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Daresbury Laboratory (Science and Technology Facilities Council)
  • London Institute of Medical Sciences (Medical Research Council)
  • UKRI headquarters, Polaris House in Swindon.

In April 2020, UKRI published its Environmental Sustainability Strategy, setting out its aim to be ‘net zero’ for carbon emissions within 20 years.

Utilising innovative and creative solutions

Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council, and leading on the Strategy for UKRI, said:

With our offices, laboratories and highly energy-intensive science facilities across the UK, UKRI is responsible for a significant public sector carbon footprint.

Meeting our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions from our estate by 2040 is a big challenge and will involve a range of activity including increasing on-site renewable energy generation, improving the way we insulate and heat our buildings and finding ways to become more energy efficient in the way we deliver our science.

The projects made possible with this funding will help UKRI to continue to cut its emissions in line with our ambitious environmental sustainability goals and contribute to the decarbonisation of the wider government estate.

Professor Mark Thomson, Executive Chair of the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC), part of UKRI, said:

With unique and energy-intensive facilities and equipment which are vital for the delivery of our world-leading science and innovation, STFC has to utilise innovative and creative solutions over the coming decades to make significant contributions to UKRI’s 2040 net zero ambitions.

These new projects are an important component of our on-going science campus development programme to make our facilities fit for the future. I look forward to seeing many of the programmes funded under this scheme get underway this year.

Further information

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme provides grants for public sector bodies to:

  • fund energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation measures
  • encourage green investment
  • achieve carbon savings.

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