The University of Reading has been placed 3rd in a league table of how successfully English universities are reducing their carbon emissions.
The figures, which have been collated by independent consultants and based on HESA and Hefce data, show that between 2005 and 2013 we reduced our total emissions by 45%.
The University aspires to be a leader in sustainability through its teaching, research and operational activities and this result helps confirm we are meeting this challenge. As part of this commitment, the University has created a dedicated Sustainability Team which manages energy, waste and sustainable travel across its three campuses. The team also leads on the implementation of the Carbon Management Plan which was signed off in 2011 by the Vice-Chancellor and sets out an ambitious strategy for carbon reduction. Sustainability is now embedded into the majority of strategic decisions across the University and has become a part of everyday life for staff and students alike.
We are constantly identifying ways to reduce our carbon footprint and in the last year alone we have delivered projects which include;
- Investing £250,000 to redesign and upgrade 44 fume cupboards which will result in annual savings of 343 tonnes CO2 and £88,000.
- The installation of building level metering across the University so we can better understand our consumption patterns and help us target future work.
- Lighting upgrades including in the URS building and 3 of the SAGES (School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science) buildings which use more efficient fittings but also include sensors which dim the lights when there is sufficient daylight
Over the next 15 months, we will be working hard to meet our own carbon reduction target of 35% which covers the period 2008/09 to 2015/16. This work includes further investment in the remaining fume cupboards, energy efficiency improvements in RUSU to lighting and cellar refrigeration and the installation of solar panels across the estate.
In addition to this, the University has constructed a new energy centre which uses Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology. This will provide 12-15% of Whiteknights electricity and heat for 16 of our key buildings. It is expected that once fully commissioned, it will reduce our carbon emissions by 10% and save £250,000 in annual utility costs.
We are also asking people across the University to help us meet this target by turning off any unnecessary electrical equipment and also making suggestions of ways we could save energy. We recognise there are opportunities across the estate for improvements whether this is the installation of draught proofing or fixing broken heating controls.