Progressing Towards a Sustainable Future

This year has been one of achievement for sustainability at the University. Concerns around environmental issues locally, nationally and internationally have continued to grow in prominence, and this in turn has seen a distinct increase in the appetite and expectation for sustainability action within the University. This has also been evident in the appetite for sustainability to feature within the University’s new core Strategy. The 2019/20 academic year promises to be an exciting one for sustainability, and one in which we can set new expectations for our ongoing environmental leadership. Cutting Carbon  Having now exceeded 40% carbon reductions since our 2008/09 baseline year, and on track to reach 43% - 45% reduction by 2021. The programme has delivered £30 million in cumulative revenue savings since 2011. This year alone, we have installed over 500 individual solar panels, at Whiteknights, London Road, Greenlands and Thames Valley Science Park. Meanwhile, energy efficiency continues to play a key role, such as in IT’s upgrades and...
Read More

Exploring low carbon heating in Henley-on-Thames

Using the River Thames for heat Since 2017, the University has been investigating the potential to provide low carbon heating to its Henley Business School, Greenlands campus. The site has a prime location on the banks of the River Thames on the outskirts of Henley-on-Thames. Heating at the site is currently from oil-fired boilers in each building and investigations have identify a water source heat pump to be a viable low carbon alternative. The large heat body of the River Thames nearby makes this a potentially ideal resource for low-grade heat to be extracted from. In simple terms, a heat pump works like a fridge – low grade heat is drawn from a heat source by evaporating a liquid, which draws out heat.  This is then condensed at high pressure to produce useful building heat; producing around 3 units of heat output for every 1 unit of energy input. For a water source heat pump, the river water would first run through a...
Read More

Sustainable university living

I’ve escaped from my desk to come and sit in Park Eat café/bar to write this article. Immediately I arrive, I’m confronted with an environmental dilemma. I’ve brought my Sustain It mug (of course!) for a cup of tea, but realise I can’t get any milk out of the machine because my cup isn’t chipped. The catering staff offer to put some milk in a paper cup. I insist I don’t want a paper cup and they insist it’s no bother. How should I respond? Back down politely and take the cup, or stick to my green guns and insist it’s a waste of resources and I’d rather have no milk? I decide to politely explain I don’t want to take a disposable cup, she understands and helpful gets me a china cup to put the milk in instead. An insignificant story, and the kind of decision we each make multiple times a day. My point though is this – each decision...
Read More

Tennis Dome

Use the dashboards below to explore this building's electricity and gas consumption. Any questions? Email us. ...
Read More

Reading retains 1st Class Award in People & Planet Green League

The University has again been awarded a ‘1st Class’ rating in the latest People & Planet Green League for its environmental and ethical performance, ranking 28th out of 154 institutions in the scheme. People & Planet, an independent student campaigning network, reviews the environmental performance of higher education institutions across the UK in 13 topic areas.  They award degree-style classifications for their overall environmental and ethical performance, based on publically available data, both from institutions’ own websites and Higher Education Statistics Agency data. Reading scored top marks for its environmental management and auditing systems.  It also performed well in the Policy, Resources, Energy Sources and Carbon Management categories. In the areas of Ethical Investment and Education for Sustainable Development, the league highlights the University has more work to do to keep up with its peers.  The University is currently re-tendering its investment services, with the new contract intended to have a much greater emphasis on ethical investment. Dan Fernbank, Energy & Sustainability Manager, said...
Read More

Going green in 2019

As 2019 begins, we take a look at our plans for delivering environmental sustainability at the University this coming year. Where we are 2018 was our most successful year yet sustainability-wise, with major reductions in waste production and water consumption and increases in sustainable travel levels. For an interactive look back, view our Annual Sustainability Report. Where we’re going Continuous improvement is a key part of strong environmental management, and 2019 promises to be no exception. Energy hack We are developing plans for our first ever ‘Energy Hack’, building on the success of previous Blackout events to reduce energy consumption in our buildings. We will be focussing on a number of buildings across the estate, engaging students and staff to work with us to improve the efficiency of their study and work environments, and have some fun along the way! Solar expansion Following a doubling of our solar panel installations in 2018, we plan yet more installations, at our Thames Valley Science Park, London Road campus and the Museum...
Read More

Winter is coming…

The Festive Holidays are fast approaching but before you head off for Christmas. The Sustainability Team would like you to grant us our small Christmas wish, before leaving your offices - please can you switch off your equipment, lights and anything consuming power?  As we would love a low carbon Christmas.   A Very Merry Christmas and a Sustainable New Year to you all from the Sustainability Team.   Help save energy when it is most important During the long, dark, cold afternoons of the winter months, national electricity consumption can be exceptionally high. In order to meet this high demand across the UK it is necessary to use less efficient, more dirty and more expensive power generation such as coal - sounds unpleasant, but nobody wants a blackout! In the highest half-hourly periods through the winter, electricity can be 30% more carbon intensive and 500 times more expensive than the annual average. These high-demand events are called TRIAD periods, and last year cost the University £240,000....
Read More

Setting up a telephone conference using Skype for Business

All staff can download and install Skype for Business, but did you know, you can also use Skype to set up a telephone conference, even if your contacts aren't on Skype? Here's how: In your Outlook Calendar, select "New Skype Meeting" from the Home tab (if you can't see this button, this article may help, or contact the IT Helpdesk).   This automatically creates a Conference ID that is unique to your conference call, detailed in the meeting invite:                 It's as simple as that! For more tips on how to use Skype for Business, check out the University's handy user guides.    ...
Read More

Philip Lyle

This building is currently rated as highly inefficient - partly because its rating includes the energy used in the large server room. We are looking into installing further sub-metering to better understand how the main building and the server room operate.Use the dashboard below to explore this building's electricity consumption - click on different days on the top chart to show the energy profile for that day.Any questions? Email us. ...
Read More

Overnight consumption

On average academic buildings on campus use half as much energy in the middle of the night as they do during the day.Help us reduce wasted energy by turning off lights, water boilers and other equipment when you leave for the day. Check your local toilets and cupboard lights are off too.The buildings with savings highlighted in green on this page have beaten their targets for electricity use between midnight and 4am. Congratulations to everyone in these buildings for helping to make our university more sustainable!Those in amber are very close - think about what else could be switched off to beat the target in future!   ...
Read More