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 2014/15, we emitted 25,486 tCO2e compared to 2013/14’s 23,023 tonnes. With a floor area of 266,859m2, Scope 1 and 2 total CO2e emissionswe appear to be using more energy per m2.

The increase in carbon intensity this year is largely a result of technical issues with UEA’s CHP engines, rather than a significant increase in energy use. This figure should decline substantially with the forthcoming CHP replacement.

Last year, the University used almost 80,000 MWh of energy. 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

Carbon comparisons: Scope 1 and 2 CO2e per m2 and per student

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 (excluding travel and procurement)

Scope 3 emissions

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 79,319.5 MWh of energy last year, an increase of 3.5%.

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. For example, our combined heat and power (CHP) engines typically save around £1m per year, reducing our carbon footprint by around 5,000 tonnes per year.

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.

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.