Both the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex are on the way to green energy with their solar projects.
Brighton’s £200,000 project serves around 7.5% of the Falmer Campus’ energy demand, with its array of 663 solar panels generating around 173,000kWh of electricity each year.
Abigail Dombey, environmental manager at the University of Brighton, said that “the installation is a clear demonstration of the university’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions, ensure energy security and to promote sustainability,” and is expected to serve a 20 year lifespan.
Sussex University’s solar project is seen by some as a reaction to the University’s dramatic fall in an annual environmental league table. The project will consist of 300,000 panels on rooftops across the campus in a £1.5 million effort to make the Falmer campus more sustainable.
University bosses said that the “first stage of a number of projects in the university’s commitment to going greener” were already under way.
But with all this investment at Sussex, only 5% of the campus’ energy needs are expected to be met by the project, a statistic that asks whether this project is providing the value for money that students and faculty expect amid rising tuition costs, shrinking contact hours, and cuts to department budgets.
Sussex University vice-chancellor Adam Tickell said: “As a university it is only right that we live by our values and ensure our campus is as green as possible. This is exactly why over the next three years I will be spearheading a programme which aims to significantly reduce the university’s carbon emissions. I am committed to the university looking at a whole institution approach to carbon reduction and working to ensure this is embedded in everything we do.”
The move to solar energy is an admirable one. There needs to be swift and decisive action on environmental issues, and moves towards a sustainable energy environment are needed quickly if we are to limit the damage already done to our planet’s delicate ecosystems.