Borders College proves to be hot stuff at award event

From left, college facilities manager Robert Hewitt, Sharcs Russ Burton, Scottish Water Horizons Donald MacBrayne and Ian Dunsmore, Sharcs Laura Bishop, Lynn Mueller and Joe Short, college vice-principal Pete Smith and Sharcs Nathan Burton.
From left, college facilities manager Robert Hewitt, Sharcs Russ Burton, Scottish Water Horizons Donald MacBrayne and Ian Dunsmore, Sharcs Laura Bishop, Lynn Mueller and Joe Short, college vice-principal Pete Smith and Sharcs Nathan Burton.

Wasting not and wanting not earned a prize for Borders College at this year’s Green Gown Awards.

Its installation of Sharc Energy Systems’ pioneering heat recovery system at its Galashiels campus won it the accolade for best newcomer.

In December 2015, the college became the first organisation in the UK to install a waste water heat recovery system.

Funded by Equitix and the UK Green Investment Bank, the system intercepts waste water from a sewer line operated by Scottish Water, extracts the natural warmth within it and transfers its heat, after amplifying it, to the college’s heating system.

The heat produced is being sold to the college under a 20-year purchase agreement, yielding savings in energy, costs and carbon emissions.

The system now provides about 95% of the heat needed by the campus.

Russ Burton, chief operating officer of Sharc Energy Systems, a UK subsidiary of Canadian firm Sharc International Systems, said: “We are delighted to have won this award alongside Borders College and Scottish Water Horizons.

“This is a great example of how strong relationships, shared vision and great working partnerships can come together to make a significant impact for all of the parties involved.

“We are really looking forward to helping the college achieve their next level in carbon reduction activity over the next two years.”

Pete Smith, vice-principal for finance and resources at the college, said: “We were absolutely delighted to be recognised as a finalist in the Green Gown Awards, but to win the best newcomer award for our Sharc project is absolutely fabulous.

“It shows what a small institution can achieve when working in partnership with like-minded organisations, benefiting not only the institution itself but society more widely.” 

Scottish Water Horizons business development manager Donald MacBrayne said: “We are delighted to have played a part in this winning project, contributing to significant cost and carbon savings for the college and bringing with it wider environmental benefits. 

“The Borders College installation is just the beginning for heat from waste water schemes in Scotland and, working alongside Sharc Energy Systems, we are actively rolling out more of these innovative projects, with several scheduled for completion next year.”

First held in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.