Greening South Cambs Hall

Greening South Cambs Hall

Why are we doing this project?

In November 2018, a cross-party decision was taken to place ‘Being Green to our Core’ at the heart of our Business Plan. This included the aim to make our district zero carbon by 2050, and the council went on to officially declare a climate emergency in November 2019. 

On 5 February 2020, the council demonstrated its commitment to this agenda by approving the £1.9 million retrofit of its Cambourne Offices, including measures to dramatically reduce energy bills and almost halve the carbon emissions from the building in year one. As the electricity grid continues to decarbonise due to new renewable energy generation schemes coming online nationwide, the carbon footprint of the building will reduce to 25% of current levels by 2030 and 10% of current levels by 2050, playing a major role in the reduction of the council’s own footprint.

The funding for this project comes from our ‘renewables reserve’, and the project is guaranteed to pay for itself within 16 years of operation. This fund has been accumulated from business rates paid in relation to renewable energy sites, such as solar farms, located within the district. The renewables reserve has also contributed to other initiatives such as the Zero Carbon Communities Grant, which aims to provide funding to community sector groups, charities and parish councils seeking to deliver projects that engage communities and support our aim of a zero-carbon district by 2050.

What does going zero carbon mean?

Greenhouse gases are released when fossil fuels (petrol, diesel, coal, and gas) are burned. Once released into the atmosphere these greenhouse gases change our climate, increasing the risk of floods, wildfires, and drought across the world. The most commonly produced greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, and carbon is therefore often used as a shorthand for all greenhouse gases. As the global climate crisis becomes ever more urgent, it has become increasingly evident that we need to end our reliance on carbon emitting fossil fuels and become a zero-carbon society. One way that this can achieved is through measures like those that will be installed through this project, to use energy more efficiently, and to produce energy from renewable and low carbon sources.

Summary of the measures

Bouygues E&S, renewable energy specialists, has been commissioned by us to carry out the works with set performance guarantees and financial savings of almost £100,000 in the building’s first operative year. The 7 green energy measures are as follows:

  1. Solar carport system – generating renewable energy to supply 20% of the building’s electricity demand (see image)
  2. Ground source heat pump (GSHP) – providing low carbon heating to supply the building and decrease the building’s gas consumption by a minimum of 79%
  3. LED lighting upgrade – reducing the building’s current energy consumption by 15%
  4. Building energy management system renewal – will maximise renewable energy use through controls integrated with the GSHP and the chiller
  5. Chiller efficiency improvements – reducing the building’s current energy consumption by 28%
  6. Air handling unit fan replacement – reducing the building’s energy consumption by 20%
  7. Electrical vehicle chargers – to encourage staff and visitors to move away from traditional petrol and diesel cars

Project timescale

The project team is working towards an overall completion date of March 2021. Planning permission is currently being sought after for 2 parts of the 7 streams of work: the GSHP and solar carport.

Get involved

Comment on the planning application via the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Portal, using reference 20/02195/FUL.  

Here, you can comment on our proposal and follow the progress of its application.

The consultation is open from Wednesday 27 May to Wednesday 17 June 2020. 

General questions

If you have any general questions that are unrelated to the planning application, then please contact us at Greening@scambs.gov.uk.

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