As a university, we save around £1 million per year through our combined heat and power (CHP) engines. This is the equivalent of around 5,000 tonnes of carbon.
Our total energy cost is around £2.6 million per year: our proactive approach over the past 25 years has meant that this figure is comparatively low due to various interventions (energy costs are now £2 million less than in 2014/15).
We use 100% renewable external energy sources for its campus with certified green electricity – known as Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) - from local renewable sources.
Our low carbon journey began in 1995 with the opening of the multiple-award winning Elizabeth Fry building which is still one still one of the most energy efficient buildings on campus.
UEA’s multi-award winning Enterprise Centre is one of the greenest university buildings in the world. It is one of just 17 buildings picked to showcase sustainable building excellence at a virtual exhibition during COP26, the major UN climate conference taking place in Glasgow.
The Campus Development Programme is a key part of our NetZeroUEA strategy by improving the energy efficiency of the original 1960s-built Lasdun Wall.
The Energy and Utilities Manager has responsibility for overseeing campus carbon performance (Scopes 1 & 2).
We have invested around £5million to improve energy efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint between 2015 and 2020. Since July 2018, £2 million has been invested in energy efficiency measures. Phase 1 of these measures has reduced our energy use by 7% and Phase 2 has offset the energy use of the New Science Building.
The electricity produced by our Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engines is currently cleaner than electricity imported from the National Grid. The CHP engines provide up to 95% of our campus electricity needs in the winter, when the national grid emits most emissions. 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.
Our CHP engines, which were originally installed in 1998, were upgraded in 2017/18 (saving us around £800,000 per year). As more renewable electricity is generated on the National Grid, the use of these engines will be phased out and replaced with renewable sources of heating and electricity.
We continue to invest in energy saving initiatives and renewable technologies. Since 2013, solar panels have been fitted to all new buildings and provide an average 11% renewable electricity to these buildings. In 2020, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts replaced over 1000 museum lights with LED versions which are 90% more efficient and illuminate the art just as effectively.
The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research calculated UEA’s remaining carbon budget at 147ktCO2. It recommends a 13% annual reduction in emissions from 2020 onwards.
We have started developing our NetZeroUEA carbon management plan to replace the 2015-2020 Energy and Carbon Reduction Programme (which expired in July 2021). Between June and November 2020, we held several participatory expert workshops including a Policy Afternoon with senior staff which has demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm to establish action plans. Following discussion and approval at the February 2021 Executive Team Strategy Day, the Vice-Chancellor announced our net zero ambitions on 11 February 2021.
In October 2021, the Sustainability Board approved the following targets:
By July 2030, reduce kgCO2e from direct emissions (Scopes 1 & 2) by 80% (absolute emissions) over 2015 levels.
By July 2045, achieve net zero kgCO2e emissions (Scopes 1, 2 & 3).
Progress is monitored by the Energy and Carbon Reduction Implementation Team who report to the Sustainability Board.
Scope 3 emissions are included within our carbon management. Carbon emissions from waste, water, wastewater and imported electricity are reported in each Environmental Sustainability Report and through our annual HESA EMR return.
We currently have one Scope 3 emissions reduction target:
By July 2023, reduce carbon emissions from long-haul and international flights by 20% from the 2017/18 baseline.
The 2017/18 baseline was 2,085 tCO2e (Long-haul: 1,091 tCO2e and International: 813 tCO2e). This target was approved by the Sustainability Board in October 2019. Progress is monitored by the Transport Implementation Team who report to the Sustainability Board.
How You Can Help
Energy saving in residences
Based on EMR methodologies, 26% of our 2019/20 Scope 1 and 2 emissions were related to student halls of residence. This does not cover privately rented student accommodation.
We have heating guides to help students living on campus to save energy.
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.
Working in a large lab or office?
Only switch on the lights you need or use desk lamps.
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.
Send computers to sleep at the end of the day and when left unsupervised: this saves almost as much energy as switching off completely.
Switch lights off in empty rooms.
Make the most of natural daylight, especially in spring and summer: switch off the lights.
Don’t leave chargers plugged in when they are not charging, or electrical items on standby when they could be off.
Is your heating on too high? – you can report it.
Print less and print double sided. Can you change your office or local printer's default settings?
Challenge yourself to boil just the amount of water you need in a kettle.
Read our campus heating guidelines for further information.
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 with any questions.