Energy manager

David Oldham with some woodchips in his hands. The University is considering woodchips as an alternative fuel option.

David Oldham with some woodchips in his hands. The University is considering woodchips as an alternative fuel option.

07 July 2008

Aberystwyth University has appointed a new Energy Manager. David Oldham is a mechanical engineer by trade and a member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, and joins the University from the University of the West of England where he held a similar post.

An important element of the new role is to make more efficient use of electricity, gas and water in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the University.

Originally from Birkenhead, David began his professional career at British Nuclear Fuel Limited's plant at Selafield. During his 13 years at BNFL he worked in research and development and was involved in the development of the THORP nuclear reprocessing plant.

More recently David gained an MSc in Energy and the Environment from Cranfield University and has also worked as Energy Manager at Southampton University.

Speaking of his appointment David described himself as a “caretaker of energy”. He said:
“As energy costs rise organisations have to look at ways of reducing consumption. On the one side there are the practical aspects which involve installing technological solutions such as more efficient boilers, lighting systems which switch off automatically, energy management systems, and alternative forms of energy such as biomass. On the other there is the need to raise awareness amongst staff and students of the need to conserve energy.”

A keen cyclist, David will be based at the Estates Department in Plas Gogerddan. One of the first projects he will oversee will be the installation of lighting control equipment on the Penglais campus. The University is investing nearly £20,000 in the new system which turns off the lights in unused areas. The work is expected to be completed by the end of July.

Over the past 6 months the University has invested £170,000 in the electricity, gas and water metering equipment which enables staff to monitor consumption on a day to day basis.  The new system makes it possible to detect abnormal use much sooner than was previously possible as well as monitoring general trends.

Green League
Aberystwyth University is one of the biggest climbers in this year's People and Planet Green League, which is published this week in the Times Higher Education (3 July 08). From  97th last year, Aberystwyth has climbed 44 places to 53rd.

Over the past 8 months the University has taken significant steps to improve recycling, with the successful introduction of the lilac bag scheme in student halls of residence and the use of recycled paper in all public service photocopiers.

For the 2007/8 academic year nearly £300,000 was invested in new public service computers and photocopying equipment which are designed to use less electricity and cut annual paper consumption by ½ a million sheets.

In December 2007 a new compost making machine was installed on the Penglais campus. Currently all food waste from the Arts Centre and the Guild of Students and Pantycelyn is being processed in the machine which has capacity for 1.2 tonnes of food waste every week.

In February the University formally opened the newly refurbished swimming pool. The project, which cost £400,000, included the installation of energy saving features which are expected to cut carbon emissions by 50 tonnes per annum.