Berkshire College of Agriculture

Berkshire College of Agriculture

Key information


Phase 2 Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme

Technologies used:

Air source heat pump, Building Energy Management System (BEMS)


South East

Client type:

Further education institution

Estimated savings


Annual savings


Total grant value


Annual carbon savings tCO2e*

Working with Salix

Decarbonising the college

Berkshire College of Agriculture has put together an ambitious heat decarbonisation plan for their Learning Centre after receiving more than £247,000 of funding from Salix Finance. The grant is from the Phase 2 Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme which comes from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. The college replaced the existing dual kerosene boiler system with an air source heat pump. In addition, the building energy management system (BEMS) will also be upgraded to ensure efficient use of energy and minimise heat wastage.

The project is expected to help Berkshire College of Agriculture reduce carbon emissions by 649 tonnes over the air source heat pump’s 20-year lifespan. The college is also keen to champion the benefits of funding and want to become an example to other further education colleges, encouraging them to apply for grants which will help support their sustainability and net zero goals. The college is located across 450 acres of farmland and is committed to buying 100% renewable electricity, with the air source heat pump paving the way to decarbonise its estate and for Berkshire College of Agriculture to continue with its sustainability goals.

They replaced two oil boilers with cracked and corroded steel sections and replaced them with two air source heat pumps which are providing heating to their main Learning Centre and adjacent 19th century classrooms. Thermal upgrades to the classrooms were also carried out as part of the project.

"This will help us to meet our 2030 net zero pledge and annual targets for emissions at our college."

Sam Armitage Director of Estates and Facilities Berkshire College of Agriculture

Student engagement 

The college prides itself on keeping its students updated with its sustainability plans as well as educating them on how these technologies work, why they benefit the environment and how they help reduce its carbon footprint.

Louis Wright, Sustainability Manager at Berkshire College of Agriculture, gave applied science students a tour of the plant rooms, where students learned about biomass and kerosene systems energy efficiency and fuel yields of heat transfers on heat engine pumps. The students looked at energy efficiency and fuel yields to aid their understanding of heat transfer.

A review of the new air source heat pump units to be installed on site was conducted, tying the project to their curriculum. The contractor, who performed the installation, recorded video content for students which helps explain its efficiency and environmental benefits. The college is relaunching its sustainability hub website, which includes tips and advice for staff and students on how to reduce their carbon footprint.

A sustainability working group of staff and students, helps advise on projects that achieve broad engagement from across the community. The college’s first EV charging point has recently been commissioned, which is significant given its rural location. There is also a heavy emphasis on recycling, with food and general waste going to an anaerobic digestion plant and an energy recovery facility.

September 2022

*tonnes of Carbon Dioxide, Calculated using Green Book emissions factors for electricity published by the government.

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