Pioneering Strathclyde-led climate neutral project wins sustainability award

The Climate Neutral Glasgow City Innovation District has been selected as a winner at this year’s International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) Excellence Awards in the Partnerships for Progress Category.

The Awards promote landmark projects that demonstrate how environmental, social and economic issues provide opportunities for universities to improve campus infrastructure.

The University is leading the ambitious project to create a 100% renewable, climate neutral and climate resilient area within Glasgow City Innovation District (GCID).

The project, which aims to integrate heat, power, transport, climate adaptation and wellbeing solutions, was selected as one which ‘clearly exemplifies the principles of the ISCN, and an outstanding example of excellence in this category.’

Renewable heat

The University’s vision in response to the global climate emergency, is to deliver 100% renewable heat from the River Clyde combining clean power, transport, climate resilience, health and wellbeing for people, communities and businesses in this entrepreneurial investment city zone.

A ‘whole systems approach’ was adoped to bring together a range of innovative measures and interventions that make use of local natural and physical resources in this part of the city to enable a large-scale transition to a more sustainable and climate ready Innovation District. 

It supports Strathclyde’s Net Zero target by 2040 and aligns with existing city plans and climate and social justice policies.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Vice Chancellor and Principal of Strathclyde, said:

We are delighted to receive this award which endorses the University’s innovative vision and recognises how we are taking collaborative action to tackle the climate emergency. 

“The project has showcased the University's thought leadership and ambition for the city of Glasgow and its citizens, and we believe the work can be replicated across other universities. 

“In this decade of change, it is vital that we collaborate at scale, across not only the Higher Education sector but also local and regional government, communities, industry and other public sector and third sector stakeholders.”

Pioneering vision

Delivering the pioneering vision will bring an investment of £500M in low carbon and green infrastructure, skilled jobs, and the project is included in the city and region’s £30BN Greenprint Investment prospectus.

Strathclyde is working in partnership with Glasgow City Council as part of Sustainable Glasgow, and formed a 15 strong city and region external stakeholder steering group. 

Project lead, Dr Roddy Yarr, Executive Lead Sustainability at the University, said: “Once complete, the project will enable a 93% emissions reduction, affordable heat for the community and enable more resilience to energy, climate and health and well being stresses.”

Victoria Smith, Executive Director, International Sustainable Campus Network, said:On behalf of the International Sustainable Campus Network, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to the 2022 ISCN Awards Winners. Our annual awards event represents an excellent opportunity for our members to showcase the important work they are doing to advance sustainability and climate action on their campuses, in teaching, learning, and research, and in the communities in which they serve.”

The work was led and funded by the University in partnership with SALIX Finance and with a technical team of Atkins, COMSOF,STAR, Minibems, Smarter Grid Solutions, Ikigai and Energy Systems Catapult all involved.

The project has also been selected as a case study for Climate Action, a campaign run by MadeAtUni, which celebrates the impact of UK universities on people, lives and communities.