On campus, test drilling has commenced to explore the potential to use geothermal heat to contribute to our heating requirements, whilst at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre in north Leeds, work has commenced to install air source heat pumps that will fully electrify the site.
Testing the potential for geothermal heat on campus
Work to test the potential for geothermal heat on campus is due to run until May 2024. It involves drilling eight geothermal boreholes at locations across campus, installing measurement equipment that will provide insight into the viability of geothermal heat as well as valuable teaching and research opportunities.
If successful, geothermal heat would contribute directly to providing a clean, fossil fuel free heating system on campus and helping us deliver net zero by 2030. The project will also provide important insights that could open up the opportunity for similar projects across Leeds and West Yorkshire.
James Dixon Gough, Head of Net Zero at the University of Leeds, said:
Testing new solutions is a crucial part of our approach to delivering net zero, and geothermal heat can provide a more efficient form of heating as we move our campus towards delivering net zero. It also supports a growing area of research that can be applied locally and globally. This project is an excellent example of how the University is working together to explore solutions for tackling the climate crisis.
You can find out more about the geothermal project in this blog post.
Decarbonising the Brownlee Triathlon Centre
Work is also underway to replace the heating system at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre in north Leeds with electrically powered air source heat pumps. This will result in the whole Bodington Playing Fields location – which also includes Bodington Football Hub – being fully electrified.
A separate project in the Net Zero Delivery Plan is working to invest in new renewable energy generation to match our usage on campus, and once this is complete the Bodington site will be run entirely on renewable energy with no carbon emissions being generated from the buildings.
The University recently invested in new electric vehicle charging stations at both Bodington Football Hub and the Brownlee Centre to support sustainable travel to the facilities. The site is also the location of Bodington Fields, a natural flood management site built in collaboration with Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency and which included the planting of 5,000 trees on site.
Delivering net zero by 2030
Both projects are part of the University of Leeds' Net Zero Delivery Plan, which sets out how we will deliver reductions of more than 35,000 tonnes of CO2e per year by 2030. The bulk of emissions reductions will be driven through changes to the way we heat and power our buildings. This requires changes to our building infrastructure to reduce the amount of energy that we use and ensure that the energy we do use is from renewable sources.
Staff and students can find out more about our Net Zero Delivery Plan, and what they can do to support our Climate Plan, at the Climate Plan Sharepoint Hub (University login required).
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our pathway to net zero is linked to the following SDGs:
- Goal 13: Climate action
- Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.