Saving carbon & energy Saving carbon & energy

UEA saves around £1 million per year through our combined heat and power (CHP) engines. This is the equivalent of around 5,000 tonnes of carbon.

UEA’s total utilities cost is over £4 million per year: our proactive approach over the past 25 years has meant that this figure is comparatively low due to various interventions.

A 25% reduction in energy consumption from 2013/14 energy consumption and prices will save over £1million and contribute to an ongoing efficiencies drive for reinvestment in the estate.

Download Target 2020: UEA Energy and Carbon Reduction leaflet


UEA are investing £6.5million to reduce our carbon footprint from 23,000 tonnes to 12,800 tonnes by 2020. This is a saving of 10,200 tonnes of CO2e, costing us £640 per tonne.

We will invest in energy saving initiatives and renewable technologies, and are upgrading our CHP engines. The energy saving initiatives will save us £1million in energy costs by 2020 (based on 2013/14 utility prices), and upon installation the CHP engines will save us £800,000 per year.

Although we are not able to quantify maintenance savings resulting from our Energy and Carbon Reduction Programme, by installing new equipment we expect that less maintenance will be required. For example, LED lights can have a lifespan of up to 20 years compared to fluorescent tubes which require a much more intense maintenance regime.

As well as its infrastructure, UEA is investing in its personnel to reduce negative environmental impacts and capitalise on internal expertise. We are working to reduce our carbon intensity despite a growing estate.

UEA carbon intensity graph

In 2015-16 the University imported 96,399MWh of energy: 0.98% less than 2014-15. However, the energy consumed on site has increased by 0.7%.

The electricity produced by UEA’s Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engines is currently 17% cleaner than electricity imported from the National Grid. 46% of electricity consumed on site in 2015-16 was from the CHPs. Another benefit of having CHP engines is in their ability to harness the waste heat produced from generating electricity to provide heating to the majority of our buildings, through our district heating system of pipes.


Two new CHP engines were installed into the Chancellors Drive energy facility in June 2017. This project will reduce CO2 emissions to 18,000 tonnes by 2017-18 — 8% below 1990 levels.

UEA’s Executive Team discussed and approved Estates’ proposed Energy and Carbon Reduction Programme (ECRP) for 2015–2020 on 23 November, 2015.

Scope 1 and 2 emissions

Scope 1 and 2 total CO2e emissions

Unfortunately for carbon emissions and utility costs, two of our CHP engines were not functioning over the 2014/15 winter.

There was no self-generation for December or January, and reduced output in February. These two months are normally the highest demand for the heat and power produced by the CHP engines. This meant that UEA had to spend around an extra £140,000 for January alone, to buy electricity from the grid.

Our rolling 12-month carbon footprint was sitting at around 19-20% above baseline, but sadly shot up to 32% above baseline due to this technical breakdown. This does show how effective the engines normally are at saving us money and reducing our carbon footprint!

Scope 3 emissions

Scope 3 emissions (excluding travel and procurement)

UEA started to report its carbon emissions from waste and water in 2008/9. Data quality and analysis continue to improve over time (including for procurement and transport) as we increase the quality of our internal reporting, and as the government and HE sector reach consensus over conversion factors.

The CHP engine failure in 2014/15 also impacted negatively on scope 3 emissions from imported electricity transmission/ distribution losses. These losses are minimised when we generate electrical power on campus.

Energy flows: UEA Sankey diagram

Energy flows at UEA (credit: UEA Sustainability Team) CLICK TO EXPAND

The campus used 79,879.4MWh of energy last year, an increase of 0.7% from 2014-15. UEA’s total utilities cost is over £4million per year: our proactive approach over the past 25 years has meant that this figure is comparatively low due to various interventions. Our new CHP engines should deliver a significant reduction in our utilities costs.

We have designed a ‘Sankey diagram’ to map out the sources and outputs of energy at UEA (see Figure, right; click to expand).

The Head of Energy and Utilities has responsibility for overseeing carbon performance.

A new 1MW biomass boiler is planned for UEA and will provide additional heat to the district heating system. Alongside the 2020 target of reducing energy consumption by 25%, the delivery of more solar PV panels on campus and the decarbonisation of the electricity grid will support a reduction of our carbon footprint. The Energy and Utilities Team is confident that our carbon reduction target will be met by the 2020-21 reporting year.


We have committed to monitoring progress towards targets regularly and to report publicly on progress each year. Read our Annual Report

How can I help? How can I help?

Energy saving in the workplace

If we all carry out the simple actions noted below, we will not only help tackle climate change by reducing our carbon dioxide emissions but also make financial savings.

Remember – most of these tips work just as well at home as they do at work, so you can save yourself some money as well.

  1. Working in a large lab or office? Only switch on the lights you need, or use desk lamps.
  2. Switch off equipment when you’re not using it, or install timers to save energy overnight and at the weekends. The Energy Team have monitors you can borrow to measure your energy use and identify some easy wins.
  3. Send computers to sleep at the end of the day and when left unsupervised: this saves almost as much energy as switching off completely.
  4. Switch lights off in empty rooms.
  5. Make the most of natural daylight, especially in spring and summer: switch off the lights!
  6. Don’t leave chargers plugged in when they are not charging, or electrical items on standby when they could be off.
  7. Is your heating on too high? – report it to
  8. Print less and print double sided. Can you change your office or local printer's default settings?
  9. Challenge yourself to boil just the amount of water you need in a kettle.
  10. Report energy issues to Maintenance:
  11. If you are aware of energy wastage or ways we could save energy, please let us know! We may have funding available to make your idea a reality.

Contact the Sustainability Team on ext. 3535, or via email with any questions.