Docklands campus goes green

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Energy minister Malcolm Wicks recently visited the Docklands campus of the University of East London (UEL) to launch a renewable energy initiative.

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks recently visited the Docklands campus of the

University of East London

(UEL) to launch a pioneering renewable energy initiative.

UEL has teamed up with solar energy company Solarcentury to install solar photovoltaic panels and wind turbine technology as part of the government's Low Carbon Buildings Programme.

Around 130 high-efficiency solar photovoltaic Sharp panels have been installed on the roof of UEL's new business school and library, located on the waterfront of the Royal Albert Dock. The installation has the potential to generate 17,430kWh of electricity, enough to power the 800 computers and workstations in the building.

The system also monitors the level of electricity being produced, and links to a screen display in UEL's Knowledge Dock café which shows the current and total levels of energy generated and carbon saved.

Malcolm Wicks said: ‘Our Government has targeted a demanding reduction of at least 60% in CO2 levels by 2050. Such a high target requires a wide-ranging strategy, which will certainly incorporate renewable energy.

‘Many of the solutions to global warming involve big ideas, big projects, and big institutions, but I think it's very important that we engage and inspire our citizens. Smaller-scale micro-generation projects like the one here at the University of East London will play a highly significant role in the fight against climate change.’

UEL's Sustainability Research Institute and Solarcentury are also installing a number of 2.5kW Proven wind turbines on campus. The first has now been set up at the adjacent Knowledge Dock Centre, UEL's enterprise development service, and will help generate electricity for the business incubator units and specialist laboratories housed there.

UEL claims the new technology will save over 10 tonnes of CO2 every year, and will contribute to UEL's targets under phase three of the national Higher Education Carbon Management scheme. Supported by The Carbon Trust, the university is set to cut its total carbon footprint by up to 20% by 2012.

The project was partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund in 2007, and is part of phase one of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) Low Carbon Buildings Programme, which provides grants for the installation of micro-generation technologies across a range of buildings including the education, public and not for profit sectors.