What is the university doing to reduce carbon emissions?

June 13th, 2022

The university has committed to science-based carbon reduction targets for our UK operations and has released the 2030 Carbon Management Plan, detailing how we will get there.

2030 – 63% reduction in emissions (science-based target)

2040 – Net zero carbon target (with offsetting)

2050 – Absolute zero carbon target (without offsetting)

To meet our 2030 target we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 26,848 tonnes.

These targets are in line with the Paris agreement to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees C by 2050. They encompass our emissions that come from our use of gas/fuel and electricity.

These emissions are in our direct control and therefore, in theory, easiest to tackle.

The Carbon Management Plan also establishes the following commitments by the university:

  • There will be no gas in any new building developments and a steady move away from the use of gas in all buildings. Read the use of gas policy for more information.
  • We will significantly increase the amount of on-site renewable energy generation from 1% to 10%. As part of this we are looking to develop a large ground based 1.4mw solar PV system at Sutton Bonington that should be operational by 2024.
  • New, higher, sustainability standards will be set for new building projects and refurbishments. Upgrading insulation will be prioritised when large-scale refurbishment is carried out. This will reduce a building’s gas consumption and allow heating systems to operate at low temperatures. This in turn enables low-carbon heat sources (e.g. heat pumps) to operate effectively. The refurbishments of Florence Boot and Hugh Stewart halls have included significant fabric upgrade, enabling us to utilise a blended, low-carbon heating solution.
  • We have started increasing the use of technology and smart meters to help us better understand how, where and when we use energy. This building-level energy information will be made available to enable people to see the impact of their sustainable behaviours.
  • A carbon offsetting plan is being developed to mitigate hard to remove emissions.
  • We will establish an invest-to-save fund to support schools and departments to invest in low carbon solutions.

Read more on our sustainability webpages.

What you can do

The university is doing a lot to reduce emissions, but everyone at the university has a part to play to help to meet our ambition. It will be impossible for us to meet our net zero and other carbon targets without the support and efforts of the entire university community. Individual actions combine to have real collective impact.

The university’s energy bill is set to rise to £17million this year alone. Energy saving measures are needed now more than ever to reduce carbon emissions but also to enable us to save money so that more is available to be spent on our research and other activities.

Around 75% of the university’s electricity use is directly influenced by individual’s actions. If all lights on our UK campuses were left on overnight, it would create around 15 tonnes of CO2 in a single evening.

That’s enough electricity to power the average house for over 20 years.

Play your part and get involved by:

  • Switching off lights and equipment when you leave.
  • Closing windows.
  • Reporting any issues to the Estates helpdesk.
  • Find out more ways to help on our webpages.
  • Log your actions on Green Rewards to earn points for your actions and be in with the chance of winning prizes each month.
  • Sign up to our newsletter to find out more about sustainability at Nottingham.

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