Excess heat from a computer server room at Edinburgh University will be pumped into buildings to keep students warm. 

Engineers will install a heat pump to take warmth from the piped air and use it to heat separate pipes which go to radiators and under-floor heating around the university. 

Grant Ferguson, director of estates and net zero at the university, said that after the initial investment it would cut heating costs by about 8 per cent. 

He said: “This is a pilot. We hope to replicate this on smaller data centres but also far bigger data centres. So, this is very much a starting point for us.” 

The university will receive nearly £2.1million – alongside £520,000 of its own funding – to support the energy saving projects at its Kings Buildings campus.

The money awarded by the Scottish Government’s Public Sector Heat Decarbonisation Fund will be used towards decarbonising the campus’ heat supply.

The University – along with Fife and North Lanarkshire Councils – is among the first seven projects to share grants for clean heating and energy efficiency improvements from the £20 million boost. 

The funding is part of a £200 million commitment to public sector energy efficiency and renewable heating schemes over the next five years, under a £1.8 billion Scottish Government plan to decarbonise Scotland’s buildings.

“The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges we face,” said Catherine Martin, vice principal corporate services, University of Edinburgh.

“The University of Edinburgh has a clear commitment to take positive action to address our impact on the climate and ultimately reach our institutional goal of being net zero by 2040. We need a coordinated approach to these activities and the funding from the Scottish Government will support our efforts to generate solutions and sustainably adapt the way we operate.”

Technologies the university is using to reach its net zero goals include air and ground source heat pumps and solar energy, such as a solar farm at the Easter Bush campus.