Energy Week

Energy Week

NUI Galway Energy Awareness Week 2022

A week full of exciting events aimed at increasing energy awareness among students and staff on campus. Organised by NUI Galway Energy Society

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The University is committed to responsible energy management as part of our overall environmental strategy. In adopting the ISO 50001 2018 Cert and as outlined in both the Energy Policy and in NUI Galway's  Statement of Fundamentals Draft we operate an Energy Management System which complies in every respect with all legal requirements related to our energy use and to have this system externally certified by an independent body. This means that we continue to upgrade existing buildings to better energy efficiency ratings and that all new builds follow energy efficiency standards.

The NUI Galway’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025 commits to ‘embrace proven new technologies to increase our buildings’ energy efficiency and Building Energy Rating;  to set ourselves ambitious targets in the areas of sustainable energy and carbon mitigation and to develop a roadmap to move ambitiously towards carbon neutrality by 2030’.The NUI Galway Sustainability Strategy 2021-2025 sets out our strategic aim with regard to Energy & Greenhouse Gas emissions  ‘to lead the way in reducing energy consumption in new and refurbished buildings, measuring and reporting energy use, implementing energy-saving initiatives, investing in renewable energy sources and reinvesting energy cost savings in new sustainability technologies.

The sections below provide an overview of the action NUI Galway takes to fulfil our Strategic Commitments and legislative obligations in the area of sustainable energy. They detail the regulations and policies we follow , the targets we have set , our processes for green procurement and processes for reviewing and reporting energy consumption. The last few sections detail our research and community partnerships that have as their goal improvement in use of resources and reduced climate impact.   

University Management Commitment

In adopting the ISO 50001:2018  and through our Energy Policy approved by the President, the University has empowered the Buildings & Estates Energy team led by Michael Curran Energy Performance Officer to lead the University in its quest for continuous improvement in its energy footprint and efficiency, and compliance with external regulations and standards for

  • Ensuring the EnMS is established, implemented, maintained and undergoes continuous improvement in compliance with the standard.
  • Allocating responsibility for energy management activities to the Energy & Utilities Manager.
  • Reporting back to the University Management Team (UMT) meetings on energy performance and adherence to the EnMS.
  • Ensuring that the energy measures are in line with NUI Galway’s energy policy, promoting the awareness of the energy policy and objectives throughout the College and ensuring that the operation of the EnMS is appropriate and effective.
  • Ensuring the energy management approach supports the College’s energy policy.
  • Engaging with external funding bodies SEAI and HEA to carry out energy projects as part of Pathways.
  • Set targets and actions from the Register of Opportunities.
  • Members of the U9 group of University Energy engineers.
  • Actively promote Energy reduction and run energy campaigns to encourage students to reduce energy consumption.

University of Galway's Energy & Carbon Reduction & Commitments 

University of Galway is committed to meeting the new Energy and Carbon targets set out in the Government Climate Action Plan of 2020 to 2030.  University of Galwayhas signed a Public Sector Energy Partnership agreement with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)  which committed the University to lead by example to meet and exceed this public sector energy efficiency improvement. Public sector bodies were set a target of reducing Primary energy by 33% before 2020, University of Galway exceeded the  33% target in 2017, with this the energy team set a new ambitious target of 40% target by 2020; by  2019 we had achieved 39.7%. 

In 2021 the SEAI published University of Galway's results and we reduced our performance to 52.4%, the huge reduction can be attributed to less consumption on campus due to COVID-19 and reduced campus access by students and staff. The SEAI have since advised our realistic figure is 42.5%. It is expected that SEAI’s 2030 targets will be a 51% improvement in carbon emissions performance compared to the baseline year; which in our case is 2006. In preparation for that transition, we are monitoring our CO2 emissions every year, since 2006. We have placed more emphasis on this aspect since 2014 and are delighted to report that our primary emissions are on the wane, since then. 

In May 2021, University of Galway has engaged with Galway City Council in an attempt to reduce levels of carbon within Galway city. Certain zones in the city have been selected and part of NUI Galway's campus has been selected as part of the Decarbonisation Zones within Galway.  A target of 51% reduction of greenhouse gasses in all selected zones over a ten year period is the goal set out by Galway City Council.

New Builds at University of Galway

All new building design and refurbishments or vacant space fit-outs are built to sustainable standards have adopted sustainable design practices improving our energy consumption. The buildings and estates office has shown continuous innovation and support for energy-efficient design down through the years. A small number of examples include: 

Exceed Logo University of Galway have been granted EXCEED funding by SEAI for the design of District Heating network for the North Campus serving Alice Perry, Cairnes, Moyola and the Research Building. It is hoped that the tender maybe issued in 2022 with works completed in 2023.


 ‌T‌he Goldcrest Student Accommodation building was designed to have a BREEAM Excellent rating and with a DEC cert of A3.  The  new phase 2 student accommodation is currently on track to receive the same accreditation.

The Alice Perry Engineering Building was awarded Near Zero Carbon design certificate in 2010.

University of Galway are currently working on a HEA/SEAI Pathways Decarbonisation project in Aras De Brun, the project will see the installation of a new Heat Pump, LED Lighting, PV installation, upgrade of heating controls and some fabric upgrades. The building BER Rating will be upgraded from a D1 to A3 rating. Findings from this project will be shared with Public Sector bodies as an exemplar building. 


Energy Reviews and Planning

An annual Energy Review is carried out to comply with the requirements of ISO 50001 2018 Cert Energy Management System (EnMS) standard, clause is 6.3. The main purpose of this energy review is to analyse University of Galway’s energy usage and consumption based on the measurement and other data i.e. the identification of current types of energy use, the evaluation of past and present energy usage and the analysis and identification of the Significant Energy Users (SEUs). 

Monthly reviews are carried out to identify the significant energy users (SEU’s) across University of Galway’s campuses as well as the variables and people that can significantly impact them. To determine the SEU’s the following process is applied:

  • Review past and present energy performance.
  • Identify the SEU’s, the equipment, facilities, variables and people that can impact them.
  • Agree energy performance indicators (EnPI’s) for the SEU’s.
  • Identify any energy-saving opportunities, prioritise and develop a plan to implement the changes.
  • Determine methods to validate energy-saving measures. 

The results of these reviews feed into our overall Energy Review Report, which we report to the SEAI, and specifically form the basis of our Energy Management Action Plan (within Section 3.2 of the below Energy Reports) and our Register of Opportunities which seeks to identify all potential existing building energy upgrades and their costings.  

Monitoring, Measurement and Analysis

Buildings that are included within the scope of the University of Galway ISO50001 EnMS are documented and included in a thorough review and updated on the University of Galway Energy Manual and Dashboard. There are 58 buildings included that have a total internal floor area of 155,090 m2. Internal audits of the ISO50001 EnMS have been carried out during 2020 and a number of observations were noted. Those observations coupled with resulting actions taken, compliment the continuous improvement statement as outlined in the University of Galway Energy Policy.
The management team measure electrical and thermal energy performance using key performance indicators; kWh (e)1 and kWh (th)2 per metre squared of treated floor area per annum. These are termed Energy Performance Indicators, or EnPIs, and are being used to set targets for enhanced energy performance improvement plans.
NUI Galway operate a formal EnMS which is compliant with the requirements of ISO50001: 2018; Energy Management Systems Standard. The Energy Review is carried out once a year and also in response to major changes in facilities, equipment, systems or energy using processes. An extensive energy monitoring system is used to meter electrical and natural gas usage on site. Monthly energy performance indicators are sent to the responsible manager(s) for the SEU to measure their actual versus expected energy consumption. Significant deviations in the EnPI’s (+ 10%) are tracked and investigated.

Procurement of energy services, products, equipment and energy

As University of Galway is a public body, all significant procurements are steered by the Irish States various public sector procurement procedures and regulations. Our electrical and natural gas contracts are purchased collectively through the Office of Government Procurement. Through these collective contracts University of Galway strives to purchase from renewable energy sources. Energy conservation plays a major role in the tendering and ongoing maintenance contracts of our building services while our new and replacement equipment items are sourced from the SEAI Triple E product register (click here)  or equivalent . The new Government Climate Action plan has set out new levels of Green Procurement and actions for public sector bodies to achieve, University of Galway will part take in these through the OGP.

Sustainable energy research centres at University of Galway

There are a number of research centres based in University of Galway focused on sustainable energy - MaREI CentreThe Ryan Institute Energy Research Centre (ERC), and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics. The Ryan Institute aims to engage in research, education and outreach in the fields of Energy and Environment.

Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC)

University of Galway is also the first university in Ireland to join the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) Network.

University of Galway Energy Society

Many of our students are active in the University of Galway Energy Society and the society runs an annual Energy Summit, which is the first and only national energy conference in Ireland run entirely by students.

Energy Awareness Week 2022

Read about the University of Galway's 2022 Energy Awareness Week here.