Saving Carbon and Energy

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 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 £1 million and contribute to an ongoing efficiencies drive for reinvestment in the estate.

Download Target 2020


We 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 £1 million 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, we are investing in our personnel to reduce negative environmental impacts and capitalise on internal expertise. We are working to reduce our carbon intensity despite a growing estate.

The electricity produced by our 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.


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


Carbon Management

The Energy and Utilities Manager has responsibility for overseeing carbon performance.

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. We declared a joint climate and biodiversity emergency on World Environment Day, 5 June 2019. We have committed to net-zero carbon emissions by at least 2050 and are currently investigating our pathways towards this. We have committed to monitoring progress towards targets regularly and to report publicly on progress each year.

The Energy and Carbon Reduction Programme


How You Can 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.


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 here.
  • 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.


Report energy issues to Maintenance

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.