Carbon Masters



Dec 11 2012

Peter Wilson Building (SRUC), UK

Scottish Agricultural College (now part of SRUC) were the first college in the UK to achieve the Carbon Masters Standard, having demonstrated a significant reduction in their emissions. SRUC are committed to reducing the carbon footprint of their buildings, which account for 89% of their total carbon emissions and were therefore interested in Carbon Masters Low Carbon Building Solution.

The site assessed was the Peter Wilson Building in Edinburgh, one of the largest properties in SRUC’s building portfolio. Originally built in the 1950’s, the building spans over 10,000 square metres and comprises lecture theatres, offices, workshops, a canteen & several computer labs. An EPC has been previously produced for Peter Wilson Building in 2009 with an E+ rating. SRUC had installed an energy management system later that year to improve the control of their energy usage in the building and wanted to look at what impact that had had on their EPC and to identify further areas for improvement.

What did Carbon Masters do?

Carbon Masters carried out the energy assessment leveraging Carbon Guru for Low Carbon buildings, an innovative cloud based tool used for Building Information Modelling. The process included – Creating a 3D model of the building; Carrying out a site survey; Feeding the survey data into an energy analysis tool; Generating an Energy Performance Certificate; Calculating the operational rating of the building based on energy consumption data from energy bills and meter readings and; Comparing the Operational Rating v/s the asset rating and identifying areas of improvements to bridge the difference.


Two key observations were made as a consequence of the assessment:

1. The new asset (EPC) rating of Peter Wilson Building was a ‘D’ rating at 53 kgCO2/m2 compared to the old EPC which was an ‘E+’. This lower rating is, in our view, due to the subsequent implementation of a Building Energy Management system.

2. However, the assessment also indicated that the Operational Rating for the is 40% higher than its Asset Rating, which implies that the building is theoretically capable of a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions if the operational rating could be brought into line with its asset rating. Carbon Masters carried out a detailed analysis of the building fabric performance by running various scenarios to identify potential areas for improvement.

Key areas of improvement identified

Four potential areas of improvement to the fabric of the building were identified that, if implemented, would bring about a 27% reduction in CO2 emissions i.e. 252 tonnes per year. A further 13% reduction could be achieved by improving operational efficiency of the building. The areas of improvement identified were:

  • Main Boilers – Replacement of existing main boilers with 90% efficient boilers could potentially save up 147 tonnes of CO2 per year with a payback period of 3.1 years.
  • Cavity Wall Insulation – Cavity Wall Insulation can lead to savings 74 tonnes of CO2 per year with payback on investment within 4.5 years
  • Lighting Improvements – It was estimated that switching to T5 lights could save around 10 tonnes of CO2 per year.
  • Domestic Hot Water – Replacing the existing hot water boiler with a 90% efficient new boiler can theoretically generate savings of up to 21 tonnes of CO2 per year

The new EPC confirmed that the building is therefore regulatory compliant under regulations contained in the Energy Act 2011, which will make it illegal to sell, rent or let any property with an EPC rating worse than E after 2018.


“The Carbon Masters assessment helped us build upon our understanding of the energy usage of Peter Wilson Building, one of the largest building in the organisation’s building portfolio. The report they developed identified a significant gap between the operational usage as opposed to what the building is capable of performing based on its carbon and energy asset rating.

The report pointed out changes we could make to the fabric of the building as well as operational efficiency improvements required to bridge this gap. We found this approach very useful. Given rising energy costs and likely future carbon taxes on our energy consumption this will help us build a strong business case to facilitate the implementation of some of the measures recommended in the report.

Joan Chalmers, Energy Manager SRUC

Next Steps

Carbon Masters are now working with SRUC to look more closely at improving the operational usage of energy in the building by looking at things such as hours of equipment usage, improvements to ICT, machinery etc. SRUC are also keen to seek support from Carbon Masters to carry out assessments on a portfolio level to identify further opportunities for improvements to cut energy usage, carbon emissions and reduce costs across their entire buildings portfolio.

About Carbon Masters

Carbon Masters is a carbon management consultancy which helps organisations in the public and private sector to measure, manage, reduce and report their carbon emissions.



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