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£7.2m transformation of MMU’s Energy Centre with help from Fusion21’s Decarbonisation Framework

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) is making significant strides towards sustainability by decarbonising the Energy Centre at Birley Fields.

This ambitious project, a crucial part of MMU's commitment to carbon reduction, is underway having accessed our Decarbonisation Framework. The project, valued at £7.2 million, is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

Fusion21 supplier Vital Energi is delivering the work and aims to drastically reduce the university's carbon emissions by transitioning from gas-fired heat generation to electric heat pumps.

The Birley Energy Centre provides heating and electricity to various campus buildings and halls of residences. The primary focus of the project is to transition to renewable energy sources, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and cut carbon emissions.

Anticipated outcomes include a 27% reduction in gas use, delivering an estimated carbon emission saving of 800 tonnes in the first year, with future savings expected to exceed 1,500 tonnes as the electricity supply decarbonises further.

Our national Decarbonisation Framework supports members, including educational institutions, in achieving their zero carbon goals. To date, the framework has generated £250 million in decarbonisation and energy efficiency projects across a range of sectors.

Paul Towers, Framework Manager (Construction and Decarbonisation) at Fusion21 said: “Supporting Manchester Metropolitan University in the decarbonisation of their Energy Centre showcases the impact of our framework in delivering significant carbon reductions within educational institutions.

“This project not only serves as a model for other universities but also underscores the vital role educational facilities play in leading the way towards a more environmentally responsible future.”

The project will improve the resilience of the Birley Energy Centre, ensuring reliable and secure heating and hot water across the campus and for students in halls of residence.

MMU aims to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2038, ahead of the UK’s national target for 2050.

Damion Shaw, Assistant Director for Facilities Management and Sustainability at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “As a leading top three sustainable University for the last 10 years (People and Planet University League), it is our responsibility to play a key role in addressing the climate crisis. The decarbonisation of our Energy Centre is a major step towards our carbon reduction goals and demonstrates our ambition to our students, staff, and the wider community.

“Sustainability is core to all that we do at Manchester Met. These works serve as a testament to the growing global movement to combat climate change and underscore the vital role that educational institutions play in leading the way towards a more environmentally responsible future.

“As the decarbonisation project takes shape, it will likely serve as a model for other universities and organisations looking to make a positive impact on the environment.”

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