Due to the investment in new combined heat and power engines (CHP engines) in the central boiler plant UEA was able to generate all of its own electricity on campus for the first time during a working day.
The two new engines were installed into the Chancellors Drive energy facility in June 2017. The works, which included installing thermal storage tanks on our district heating network, significantly reduce energy consumption and payback in the investment is expected in around 5 years.
Generating our own electricity and using heat produced to heat our buildings will help cut the UEA carbon footprint by 5000 tonnes a year as the University targets helping carbon emissions drop to below the 1990 baseline.
The installation of a new roofing membrance on the Biology/Sciences roof was the final phase of the Teaching Wall re-roofing which commenced in 2012. To ensure that the facility remained operational, the construction works were carried out over six phases between February and July 2017 at a cost of £1 million. Since completion of the works significant energy savings have been seen.
The Sustainability team continued providing training and support to our students through the Green Impact Programme. The initiative continued to support student learning, networking and entertainment, including the annual Green Film Festival, and other promotions and campaigns through the year. Part of the teaching process conducted by the Sustainability team is to impart key professional skills development to the students in project management, environmental systems thinking and sustainabile communications.
Another initiative led by the Sustainability team was the Big Holiday Switch Off, which encouraged staff and students to switch off their electrics before leaving for the Christmas break. Another successful year as UEA saved 27% of its total electricty and heat usage, compared to the same number of days during term time. In total, energy savings were 877, 455 kWh. 560, 300 kWh were from heat savings and 317, 155 kWh were from savings in electricity. The saving in electricity alone was enough to power 2, 534 houses for the 11 days of the Big Holiday Switch Off.
The work carried out across Estates and Cleaning and Grounds to improve our impact on the environment helped the Estates Green Impact team be successful in achieving a Silver award. The Grounds Team were awarded a special award for environmental improvement, recognising Grounds initiatives to build insect hotels around the campus and slow worm pits at Lusty Hills (the ridge of land next to Colney Lane and the sports fields). Grounds have introduced sustainable planting schemes which have reduced watering requirements. On the last count the UEA campus had almost 3,500 different species of plants, animals and fungi on campus, 162 of which are of special scientific interest.
No staff or students at UEA could go about their work or studies without the services of the Estates team, who maintain the campus grounds and buildings, from security to cleaning and space management to sustainability.
With such a wide range of responsibilities, the team is constantly working to ensure that daily life runs smoothly at UEA – and that means maintaining a strong focus on customer service.
“Our customers tell us we’re doing a good job, but we’re always looking for ways to improve,” said Justin Rhys, Customer Liaison Officer. “We continually listen to and act on feedback and run a Customer Perception Survey every two years, which gives us the opportunity to step back, look at how we operate and take action where it’s needed.”
As a result of the 2015 survey, the new role of Building Fabric Manager was created to speed up estimates and small works activities. Thanks to this, 67% of staff who responded to the 2017 survey said they were happy with time taken to complete their requests - a 23% improvement on 2015 - and fewer than 0.5% of jobs resulted in complaints.
There’s also been a 10% increase (68% to 78%) in satisfaction with communication about the status of maintenance jobs following a restructure of the Maintenance team, additional resource for the Helpdesk and the introduction of a new contractor for non-emergency small works and estimates.
Another popular innovation is the self-service auto-responders – by sending an e-mail to email@example.com with “Help” or “?” in the subject field, customers can see real-time status information about maintenance work.
“We’re delighted that 82% of respondents agree that fixing problems is a particular strength of Estates, and almost 70% are happy with the speed at which we fix problems,” said Justin. “The technology we’ve introduced for the Helpdesk team has also improved our performance, with 81% of respondents happy with our service.”
Some of the most complicated challenges are faced by the Space team, whose role is to balance the needs of the University with the available space. Their ability to deliver this balancing act was recognised by the 86% of customers who agreed that they complete their tasks successfully, with 75% were happy overall, compared with 55% in 2015.
Refurbishments can cause the biggest disruption, but improved communication via the monthly Projects Forum has also seen satisfaction levels with the way these projects are handles jump from 51% in 2015 to 77% this year.
The greatest accolades were for the Security team, however, with 92% of respondents saying they’re happy with the services they provide, 92% saying they’re friendly and helpful, and 91% saying they help to make them feel safe and secure on campus.
“We’re very happy that the changes we introduced following the 2015 survey have had such positive results and look forward to continuing to offer our customers excellent service,” said Justin.