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How did we achieve our 35% carbon reduction target?

We are delighted to announce that the University has cut its carbon emissions by 35%!!!

This has produced a saving of £17 million over a five year period and means we have cut our annual carbon emissions from 44,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2008/09 to just over 28,500 tonnes per year now. The total carbon saved over the five year period is 63,000 tonnes, which equates to just over two years’ worth of the University’s current carbon emissions.

This achievement puts the University among the top institutions in the country for reducing its carbon emissions. It demonstrates the University’s commitment to delivering against its environmental commitments and makes Reading a leader in the sector for action on climate change.

The big question is, how have we done it? Since 2010, the University has been working hard to deliver on this commitment. Over £4 million has been invested into projects across the University to improve the efficiency of our buildings and operations. The infographic below gives a breakdown of where the reductions have come from and demonstrates how broad the programme has been.

Looking back over the last 5 years, we’ve identified the following 8 points as key to achieving the 35% reduction…

  1. Consistently committed senior leadership
  2. Increasing localised as well as centralised action
  3. Regular progress reporting, including on carbon performance, financial investments and associated returns
  4. An evolving programme with regular annual reviews rather than a static list of projects
  5. Close monitoring of and planning for key estate and business strategy changes to anticipate impacts on the programme
  6. A combination of internal and external funding streams; with 40% coming from external sources
  7. A strong energy management system, certified to ISO50001
  8. A committed, enthusiastic and persistent team of dedicated staff

If you have any questions please do get in contact as we would be delighted to discuss the 35% reduction with you. We also know we have a lot more to do however and we always welcome suggestions on how we can improve our energy performance – do let us know if you have a suggestion. You can contact us by emailing

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