University carbon cuts

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

 I came across this summary of how one UK university has been responding to the need to use less carbon (and other stuff) in its operations.  I was quite impressed seeing how student numbers have grown:

–  Electricity use down 2% over last 2 years despite two major new buildings being built (4.5% or £160k worth of improvement if these are taken into account). 

– Energy consumption and water usage lower than 12 years ago despite significant growth over that period. When growth taken into account: 

– Electricity use per m2 floor area 26% lower 

– Gas use per m2 floor area 28% lower 

– Water use per m2 floor area 42% lower 

All this has saved £1.5m annually 

– Carbon emissions down 22% since 2005, a period of significant growth in the University’s student population and physical infrastructure. Emissions per m2 building floor area are down 42% over the same period. Review of carbon strategy and targets underway. 

– Self-generated electricity now accounts for almost 9% of total use – CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plants generated £300k worth of electricity, enough to power 600 houses, while also recycling their waste heat on site. 

– 4,724 bags of charity donations collected and donated to British Heart Foundation instead of going to landfill, raising £60k from ‘end of term’ unwanted food, clothing, crockery and appliances. 

– Accommodation and Hospitality Services maintained certification to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management standard, and ran the ‘Protecting What Matters’, ‘Leave No Trace’, and ‘Student Switch Off’ campaigns. 

– University continues to operate with 100% green renewable electricity supply, now across the whole estate. 

– A ‘Fairtrade University’ since 2009, and awarded Fairtrade Gold awards in 2018 and 2019. 

– Sustainability & Citizenship is a key theme of the Curriculum Transformation project 


Excellence all round.  It is, however, a long way from the cherished and now-promised N-ZC: net-zero carbon.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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