Pioneering Borders College heating system a sewer-fire success at awards

Borders College at Galashiels.
Borders College at Galashiels.

A pioneering heating system used by Borders College at Galashiels has picked up its second prize in a matter of weeks.

Following on from being named best newcomer at the Green Gown Awards in Manchester, its heat recovery system, installed by Sharc Energy Systems, has won the accolade for best innovation at the Scottish Green Energy Awards, held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

The system – taking waste water from a sewer line run by Scottish Water, extracting the natural warmth from it and amplifying it, then transferring it to the college’s heating system – is the first of its kind in the UK.

It was one of 40 finalists in 11 categories.

College facilities manager Robert Hewitt said: “In its first year of operation, the Sharc system successfully generated a saving of 40% in gas consumption for the heating of the campus.

“We expect this saving to double in the second year to provide approximately 95% of the heat requirements of the campus, ultimately saving around 218 tonnes of CO2 every year thereafter.”

Pete Smith, the college’s vice-principal for finance and resources, added: “Borders College is delighted that this innovative project is gaining recognition nationally, first winning a Green Gown Award and now also winning this Scottish Green Energy Award.

“It really is testament to the entire team that the project has been such a success and shows what a true spirit of partnership working can achieve.”

Pete and Robert are now working with Sharc to try to make the system even more efficient.

Ideas currently being evaluated include the provision of a cleaner, possibly solar-powered electricity supply to run the heat pumps used by the system and installing high-efficiency radiators.