Universities have historically been at the forefront of research efforts to combat climate change. But meeting carbon emission targets within their own campus estate has typically been more of a challenge. This year’s UN’s Climate Conference (#COP26) saw universities across the UK actively setting new objectives to tackle the climate emergency, starting from within their own backyard.
I’ve had the absolute pleasure and privilege of working directly with the University of Birmingham (UoB) on a project to make their smart campus goals come to fruition. Like most big institutions nowadays, their overarching mission was to achieve #NetZero but their aspirations go far beyond this. They have big ambitions to transform their Edgbaston and Dubai campuses by combining connected digital technologies, artificial intelligence, decentralised energy generation and storage and renewable energy.
However, without the capital budget to invest outright though, the project wasn’t financially viable at first. We knew this would be no easy feat, but the team of experts across multiple business units at Siemens worked collaboratively on a strategic partnership to make it all possible. We created a highly tailored agreement within their financial requirements to set up a ‘Building Efficiency as a Service’ (BEaaS) solution wherein they can spread the cost of the investment over a 10-year period, covering both equipment and services. This agreement seamlessly aligned their commercial and environmental goals and removed the need for any upfront payment – result!
This year, the University of Birmingham will become the first university in the world to roll out Internet of Things (IoT) technology at scale, and their ‘Living Lab’ will be used to accumulate data for innovation, research, and education and help eradicate CO2 emission by 2035. Their commitment towards the environment extends beyond the walls of their buildings. Earlier this year, UoB signed up to the United Nations Global Compact – the world's largest corporate responsibility initiative – and attended the global climate change conference in Glasgow in November. Hopefully, other universities will be inspired by UoB’s journey and decide to follow their lead.
And, with the support of a specialist financier like Siemens Financial Services (SFS), finance doesn’t have to be a hurdle to achieving your sustainability objectives either. Interested in finding out how we can help you achieve your smart building goals? Let’s schedule a chat! Send me a direct message on LinkedIn or take a look at our website.
Mark McLoughlin, Siemens Industries and Markets, Siemens Financial Services, UK
I have worked as a strategic account manager & financing partner within Siemens Industries and Markets for the past eight years, with over 20 years’ experience in the finance and leasing industry. My role focuses on supporting Siemens by providing innovative financing solutions as part of its value proposition to customers.
In my free time I devote my energy to family time with my daughters (3 and 5 years old) and enjoy running, cycling through the Warwickshire countryside, and watching Aston Villa.