University of Canterbury to be Carbon Neutral, Gets $2.16M Grant from New Zealand Govt

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University of Canterbury to be Carbon Neutral, Gets .16M Grant from New Zealand Govt

The University of Canterbury (UC) has received $2.16 million in additional funding from the New Zealand Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw to become carbon net neutral by 2030. This will help eliminate the use of coal and reduce carbon emissions by a further 20,000 tonnes over 10 years, UC says.

“This will help the University of Canterbury (UC) expand the scope of a boiler conversion project at its Ilam campus, eliminating coal use and reducing carbon emissions by a further 20,000 tonnes over 10 years (around 2,000 tonnes per annum on average). The University is committed to reducing carbon emissions and will invest a further $15.4 million in the current project,” the official notice reads.

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“At the University of Canterbury, we produce world-leading research into sustainability challenges – from airborne microplastics to climate action in the Pacific,” says UC’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Sustainability, Professor Jan Evans-Freeman. She added that UC will be embedding sustainability into its programmes, so that the students are prepared for a fast-changing world that needs urgent action. “Our new Bachelor of Social and Environmental Sustainability degree will empower students to make a difference,” she adds.

“We need to align our campus operations with the future-focused work happening in academic learning and research. We are investing in the future, so our students are learning in facilities that are as efficient and sustainable as possible. Thanks to the Government’s funding we can do that sooner,” says Prog Evans-Freeman.

UC received $6.24m in July last year under the government’s state sector decarbonisation funding project. The funding will contribute to the conversion of the existing boilers on the university’s Ilam campus from coal fuel to wood fuel. These conversions will reduce net carbon emissions from coal by 100 per cent.

The heat output from wood-fuelled boilers is lower so UC needed to reduce the campus heating load to match. This was achieved by converting four large UC buildings to use sustainable Ground-Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs), which extract natural heat from underground water aquifers, reads the notice. The additional funding will enable UC to progress this work.

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New buildings such as the UC’s Student Association’s Haereroa and the 504-bed student accommodation complex Tupuānuku are designed with greater thermal efficiency and GSHP technology. The university plans to upgrade the thermal efficiency of all large campus buildings and convert them to using GSHP heating. This work is scheduled to take 15 years.

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