Planning application submitted for a project to reduce carbon emissions on the Headington Campus

7 September 2021

Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall from Gipsy Lane

Oxford Brookes remains committed to a range of ambitious sustainability targets and earlier this year signed up to the Zero Carbon Oxford Charter pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions as a city by 2040.

To further decarbonise Oxford Brookes’ activities on the Headington Campus, the University is seeking to install a geo-exchange heating and cooling system which would displace the use of fossil fuels.

It is estimated that the introduction of the new system would help to reduce the John Henry Brookes Building’s Energy Centre’s carbon emissions by approximately 20%.

Oxford Brookes is therefore keen to proceed with this project, which has received Government funding as part of the country’s decarbonisation strategy and has submitted a planning application which can be viewed on the Oxford City Council website.

The planning documents will provide further detail should you wish to find out more but in essence the installation would consist of a heat pump to be installed within a pre-existing interior plant room, or Energy Centre, in the John Henry Brookes Building. It would also involve an innovative new approach to carbon reduction utilising boreholes and inter-connecting flowlines that will be capped at the surface, with manhole covers.

The number of boreholes required is approximately 15, with a depth in excess of 220m. The drilling diameter for each bore will be approximately 15-20cm. We are proposing that the boreholes are located on the University’s access road parallel with Gipsy Lane next to the Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall building. The manhole covers will be a standard size, visible only at ground level, with access for maintenance and servicing.

If planning permission is granted, the University and its contractors will ensure that all activity is undertaken safely and that any disruption is kept to a minimum. We expect that work would begin in December 2021 with external works proposed to be completed within 10 weeks. Before any work takes place, we will ensure that further information is made available, including a traffic management plan and more detailed timings of expected work.