News Navigation

Greener heating for Comberton VC

11th October 2021

An innovative project to give Comberton Village College greener heating has been agreed.

The year-long scheme, due to start later this month, which will replace the college’s oil-fired boilers with ground source heat pumps has been agreed between The Cam Academy Trust, of which Comberton VC is a member, Cambridgeshire County Council and renewable and efficient energy company Bouygues E&S Solutions.

The decarbonisation project will see heat pumps replace the aging oil boilers in the college’s main plant room and these will extract heat from a number of deep boreholes in the college car parks.

The new heating system is set to reduce the college’s carbon emissions from heat by 66% - 233 tonnes - in the first year. As the electricity from the grid is further decarbonised this will see the reduction in emissions rise to 89% after 20 years.

It will also save the college around £40,000 a year compared to operating and maintaining oil heating.

The Trust and the Council have secured £1.9 million of grant funding from Government towards the £3 million capital cost of the project, from Phase 2 of the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

The balance of capital investment is coming from Cambridgeshire County Council. The Trust and the Council have entered into an innovative Managed Services Agreement (a form of operating lease) on the balance of plant not covered by the grant funding.

This lease allows the Council to recover its capital investment whilst still delivering a net operational saving to the Trust.

It is planned that experts from Bouygues and the council will give talks explaining the project from both an environmental and engineering perspective to students in Comberton’s Eco and STEM groups.

The heating upgrade follows from earlier work to add solar panels and install LED lighting around the college.

The next phase of the work will see the various boiler rooms around the site linked back to the main plant room by a series of pipes. Work on the boreholes is due to start in January.

Stephen Munday, The Trust’s CEO, said: The Cam Academy Trust is delighted that such a major energy project is to take place at Comberton Village College.

“With a major grant from national Government and support from the County Council this has been possible.

“It will mean that the whole school site will move over from reliance on oil for heating and receive this from ground source in the future.

“This is environmentally extremely desirable and fits with the Trust’s aim to support environmentally friendly projects and ways of working.

“In the long run it will also be financially beneficial to the school meaning that more of the school’s funding can be focussed where we would want it to be - on education.”

Councillor Lorna Dupré, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Environment & Green Investment Committee, said: “Our vision is to deliver net-zero carbon emissions for Cambridgeshire and to bring forward the target for this from 2050 towards 2030.

“The Comberton Village College project is a great example of how we are working in partnership with our stakeholders to deliver this.

“The low carbon heat network will not only ensure that we are doing our part to tackle climate change, but also serve as an exemplar for retrofit decarbonisation of heating on other sites.”

Miles Messenger, Head of Energy Performance Contracting at Bouygues Energies & Services, added: “We are thrilled to be supporting Cambridgeshire County Council and Cam Academy Trust in the delivery of this pioneering low carbon heat network to Comberton Village College.

“The project will showcase how retrofitting renewable energy technology and heat network installation can deliver a significant long-term reduction in carbon emissions, reliable heat and address the college’s future lifecycle costs. Whilst projects like this are novel now, we expect that they will become a new norm in future years, as we move away from fossil-fuelled combustion to heat our buildings”

You can find answers to some frequently asked questions by clicking here.

Back to News & Events