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35% carbon reduction – we’re nearly halfway there!

We’re almost halfway to achieving our 35% carbon reduction target, just 2 years into our 5 year Carbon Management Plan!  Already, we’ve made a 16.5% reduction against our baseline emissions, which has saved £3.9m and 11,137 tonnes of CO2 over the last 2 years, for an initial project investment of just over £1m.

We reduced our emissions by 6.9% against our baseline in 2011/12, building on a 9.6% reduction the previous year.   Our carbon footprint includes a range of emissions, from heating fuel and electricity, to waste, water and transport.  As our understanding develops, we will continue to target reductions across all these key areas to help meet our goal.

We’ve taken a wide-reaching approach to cut our emissions.  A significant focus has been on improving insulation levels of buildings, through a combination of roof insulation, wall insulation and draught proofing.  These projects are particularly cost-effective, will improve user comfort in many buildings and align well with our plans to replace the district heating system’s ageing steam boilers during the next few years.  Annual savings of almost 500 tCO2 and £75,000 are expected from this work.    We’ve installed ventilation sensors in many lecture theatres to better align ventilation with occupancy levels, while the solar panels installed on the Carrington and Estates & Facilities buildings are expected to save a further 23 tCO2 and £4,000 annually.

Our behaviour change initiatives continue to gather pace, including the development and delivery of environmental training workshops, an e-learning package soon to be launched and the leadership of 21 teams from across the University in the Green Impact Award scheme promoting environmental excellence.

In Henley Business School’s Greenlands campus, thermostatic radiator control valves are providing closer control of heating systems, and the Building Management System has been expanded to help us regulate heating and ventilation systems more closely.

For the first time, we have incorporated water efficiency into our plans, with a target of 10% reduction in water consumption set for 2012/13.

There’s still much more to be done as the University evolves.  We need every member of staff and every student to get involved if we are to achieve our 35% target by 2015/16 and begin work towards a 45% target for 2020.

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