South West College

The green credentials of South West College (SWC) - Northern Ireland’s only Grade 1 Outstanding College - continue to grow with an ever-evolving sustainability movement across campuses in Cookstown, Dungannon, Enniskillen and Omagh. This commitment to environmental sustainability is reinforced by the suite of environmental, renewable energy and sustainability courses offered as part of the College’s curriculum.

Creating a more eco-friendly environment at College-wide level has seen a series of initiatives in energy efficiency, water-control, waste management and sustainable transport implemented across the SWC campuses in a bid to minimise its environmental impact, whilst maintaining excellence in learning, teaching, research and knowledge transfer.

“Here comes the sun” at SWC Cookstown Campus

In the drive to reduce its environmental footprint and control spiralling electricity costs, the College embarked on a micro-generation project by installing a 20kW Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panel array at the SWC Cookstown Campus in June 2013.

The installation utilises Panasonic high efficiency (HIT) panels and a smart TV in the main foyer of the building which highlights the amount of electricity being generated in real-time. The system’s web-based portal and smartphone application also help College staff to accurately monitor/report on the system’s performance.

During the first full academic year in operation, the PV System generated approximately 14,488 kWh of electricity and data for the first 6 months of the 2014/15 academic year has shown output from the PV panels has increased by approximately 19% on last-year’s figures.

The success of this project has allowed the Cookstown campus to reduce its environmental footprint while yielding impressive electricity cost-savings and ROC revenue for the College.

Let there be light – but only if it’s LED!

With an estimation that approximately 25% of electricity usage across SWC can be attributed to lighting requirements, LED-lights were installed to replace the traditional fluorescent lamps along the circulation routes of the College’s Omagh and Dungannon campus buildings in April 2014. Lux Motion Sensors were also installed in areas with a good level of natural light to reduce the amount of unnecessary time that lights were being left on.

The newly installed LED lights offer savings of up to 70% in electrical usage when compared with fluorescent lights. Over their first full academic year in operation, it is anticipated that this project will result in an electricity saving of 76,500kWh between the Omagh and Dungannon campuses.

SWC goes Green

As with all utilities, SWC continually seeks the most environmentally-friendly solutions to meeting its electricity demands. Working closely with the College’s new electricity provider, Power NI, SWC has recently been awarded a ‘Green Certificate’ confirming that 100% of the College’s electricity supply, comes from renewable sources with zero associated CO2 emissions.

This will play a hugely significant role in reducing the operational CO2 footprint of SWC and provides further evidence of the College’s commitment to enhancing its environmental performance across all of its operations.

SWC leads the way in linking education and industry

SWC recognises that sustainability, renewable energy and the broader environmental agenda are at the forefront of current economic, business and policy priority areas both at a local and international level. With this in mind, SWC offers a suite of courses across the renewable energy, environmental and sustainability spectrums, tailored to cater for the continually-evolving demands of the labour market.

At SWC a totally new and pioneering approach to learning has been delivered through the development of the Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (CREST). This facility, based in Enniskillen (Co Fermanagh) is pioneering in its approach to blended learning and industry support. The Centre is also the first commercial passive building in Northern Ireland.

CREST provides industry R&D, demonstration and testing facilities for new renewable energy products and sustainable technologies. The CREST facilities are available to businesses or individuals within Northern Ireland, the border counties of Ireland and Western Scotland who have ideas for new products or process developments but who do not have the physical and/or technical capacity to develop, test and commercialise them.

CREST is led by SWC and supported by a host of educational institutions including Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre, the Institute of Technology Sligo and Dumfries and Galloway College in Scotland.

The industry accredited and award winning CREST building was officially opened in January 2015 by Chris Hines MBE (formerly of the Eden Project, Cornwall). The building will be powered by what is considered to be Europe’s first Solar PV system to use robotic trackers to follow the sun’s path, ensuring maximum yield from the available solar energy.

Main Contact Name: Ben McGonagle, Sustainability Officer
Main Contact Email & Telephone: [email protected] and 0845 603 1881
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