University of Oxford

Key Facts
Client Type: Education
Technology: Geothermal
Geography: International

University of Oxford
Executive Summary:

GI Energy was involved throughout the design process, then commissioned to deliver the scheme. We were contracted to provide base load heating and cooling within a defined performance envelope, to optimize CO2 savings on an ongoing basis.


EARTH SCIENCES BUILDING:  Minimizing CO2 was identified as Key Performance Indicator for Oxford University. Ground source heat exchange was determined to be the optimum technical solution for heating and cooling, but was also relevant to the Earth Sciences building’s inhabitants. Professor Phillip England, the Head of Faculty, took an active role within the project team and scheme development.

MATHEMATICAL INSTITUTE: The Math Institute has been designed to realize the University’s sustainability strategy, by achieving a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ and achieving a carbon saving over 20% beyond that required by building regulations. This has been done through the use of Design for Future Technology and installing energy efficient systems. The installation of heat pumps within the energy center by GI Energy is core to achieving the carbon savings required.

The system we installed consists of a large ground loop of 130 boreholes beneath the basement of the building. These provide a heat source and sink for four large Clivet heat pumps. The system provides over 500kW of heating or cooling, and handles large simultaneous loads. The new Mathematical Institute facility, the Andrew Wiles Building, was officially opened in October 2013.

SAÏD BUSINESS SCHOOL: The west wing extension, which formally opened in February 2013, is heated and cooled by a hybrid system consisting of ground source heating and cooling, drawn from the structural foundations of the building using Waterfurnace heat pumps.

Conventional heating and cooling supplements the ground source system. GI Energy, working with the General contractor, designed, installed and commissioned the energy pile system and the associated ground source heat pump system. The energy piles and heat pumps are capable of providing approximately 160kW of both heating and cooling, delivering a predicted annual saving of over 110 tons of carbon dioxide.

How Our Services Helped:

We created 63 boreholes to a depth of 210 feet and then installed a hybrid ground source heat pump system directly underneath the building. This part of Oxford is geologically challenging, since it sits above a high-pressure aquifer. Care and attention is always paramount when drilling boreholes; in this case extra diligence was required to ensure that the artesian aquifer was not breached.