Energy and carbon

Energy and carbon

As a multi-site organisation we recognise our responsibilities in tackling climate change and are working to reduce our carbon footprint across the estate. Our Carbon Net Zero Strategy 2021-2030 is the critical sustainability operational issue in the Strategic Plan 2022-2027, evidencing our commitment to minimising environmental impact in response to accelerating climate change.

Our previous carbon strategy (2010-2020) achieved a 47% drop in emissions by 2019 that rose to 63% by 2020 – surpassing its target of 40% by 2020.

Our achievements

  • We have achieved 47% scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions* from 2005-06 to 2018-19 which delivers the aims of our CMP 2018-2022.  2019-20 saw a further reduction in emissions, mainly due to the impact of Covid 19
  • We achieved BREEAM excellent certified for our refurbished Pittville Student Village opened in 2017 and our new Business School building completed in 2018
  • We fully divested from fossil fuels by May 2018
  • Our new Business School development is zero emissions and uses four air source heat pumps for all its heating, eliminating the use of fossil fuels on site
  • We now emit over 2,000 fewer tonnes of carbon each year than we did ten years ago – the equivalent of 250 typical UK homes worth of emissions
  • We have exceeded our targets for reducing scope 3 carbon emissions from waste production and disposal, and business travel
  • Over the last ten years we have reduced electricity use by 32% and gas by 37%
  • One third of our campus vehicles are now electric

As well as reducing our scope 1 and 2 emissions targets, we are working to drive down scope 3 emissions from our supply chain through consistent implementation of the sustainability requirements in our  Procurement Strategy. We are also working to decarbonise travel so that staff and students adopt active and low carbon modes of transport through incentives, subsidies and Smart Travel initiatives.

*Scope 1 – direct emissions e.g. from gas and oil combustion for heat and hot water

*Scope 2 – indirect emissions e.g. from the purchase of grid electricity

*Scope 3 – indirect emissions from transport, waste, water consumption and procurement

We’ve achieved this by:

  • On site generations from our solar PV panels – our solar PV arrays at Oxstalls generated 42,000 kWh of electricity in 2019/20
  • LED lighting – rolling out LED lighting to halls and operational buildings and installing efficient lighting control through our annual maintenance programme
  • Switching to cleaner fuels – switching from using oil for heating to high efficiency gas boilers at our halls has reduced carbon emissions from oil burning by around 200 tonnes
  • Building energy management – we use our building management system to monitor and control heating and cooling, delivering comfortable, efficient temperature and humidity levels
  • Sustainable Travel – annual monitoring and incentives to support low carbon travel and working with the new County Council E-scooter hire scheme in 2020
  • Lower energy IT systems – moving services to cloud environments and replacing hard drives with solid state memory devices
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