Helping staff to travel sustainably at UoR

The carbon hierarchy, as above, shows travel methods in order of sustainability – it is a helpful tool to consider the impact of travel decisions and supports the consideration of suitable alternatives. For further information and offers, please visit our sustainable travel pages. The 2022 travel survey revealed that only 57% of our staff travelled sustainably – this blog highlights all the alternative modes and offers to help you cut emissions and potentially save money by travelling by other means than driving single occupancy vehicles. Keep reading to find out how to beat the traffic with our new FREE Park…
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University shortlisted in three categories at the 2022 Green Gown Awards!

We are very please to announce that the University has been named as a finalist for the Sustainability Institution of the Year Award at this years UK & Ireland Green Gown Awards! The category is one of three which University projects have been shortlisted in - the most nominations in a single year since 2015. The Awards, administered by the EAUC (the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges), recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the UK and Ireland each year. The University's last success at the Green Gowns came in 2017, when we received the…
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Every drop matters!

Climate change’s affects on weather patterns means that water scarcity is becoming a reality in some parts of the world and the UK will not escape these impacts. Adaptation to these impacts will see the need to reduce consumption and careful water management will become vital in the coming years. The University is committed to managing our water use effectively to ensure that we protect this limited and increasingly precious resource. In July 2021 the University achieved significant reductions against all of its 5 year targets which were set in the 2016-21 Carbon and Water Management Plan. For non-residential properties…
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Saving energy in our kitchens with Cheetah!

And no we don’t mean the large cat! Cheetah is a demand controlled kitchen ventilation system. It works by controlling ventilation fan speeds to match extract rates with cooking demands, thereby optimising energy use. The fans are set to a minimum speed as default but as smoke, high temperatures in ducts, low air flow in ducts and high levels of carbon dioxide in the kitchen are detected, demand based extraction automatically increases. The system has been installed in the kitchens at five food outlets across campus – Shamrock Café, Wantage Hall, The Square, Park House and Park Eat. The systems…
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Getting heat de-carbonisation underway at UoR

The trajectory towards a Net Zero Carbon future inevitably involves the phase out of fossil fuels. This poses a significant challenge when it comes to heat, as a substantial proportion of heat in the UK is generated through the combustion of fossil fuels. According to Catapult, heat accounts for approximately 37% of UK carbon emissions when including industrial processes, with over 80% of homes and over two million businesses using gas from the grid. In recognition of the need to move away from the use of fossil fuels for heating, the government has announced its ambition to phase out the…
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A new LEAF in laboratory sustainability at the university

A new LEAF in laboratory sustainability at the university The University of Reading provides invaluable teaching and research through our on-campus laboratories. The nature of laboratory work is very carbon-intensive and, as a result, the universities’ science-based buildings represent 25% of total energy consumption and produce 20% of total day-to-day waste (by weight) . In order to support all relevant departments with creating a more sustainable laboratory culture, we are now participating in the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF). LEAF is an online assessment tool to aid improvements in the sustainability and efficiency of both research and teaching laboratories and is already…
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Taking action for a cleaner, healthier future on Clean Air Day

Air Pollution has been recognised as one of the biggest environmental health risks facing humans. In fact 9 out of 10 people across the world live in a place where air quality exceeds the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) guidelines. Many sources of air pollution also contribute to carbon emissions, so reducing air pollution has clear benefits for health, wellbeing and the environment. Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest campaign on air pollution. For 2022, this is being held on 16th June and the theme is “Air pollution dirties every organ in your body. Take steps to improve your health…
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A cool 91% energy saving from our new air conditioning units

One of our recent Salix grant-funded projects entailed the replacement of 12 air conditioning units with 10 new, high efficiency units, yielding an impressive 91% saving in the energy that they use, with a carbon saving of 9.68 tCO2e per year. Our analysis conducted as part of the project also highlighted the important interplay that exists between technology and human behaviour, illustrating that as well as upgrading technology to improve efficiency, we can all do our bit to avoid wasted energy and minimise carbon emissions. In this blog we provide further information on the project and steps you can take…
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Installing solar panels – are they worth it?

Opinion: Dan Fernbank, Energy & Sustainability Director With energy prices skyrocketing, I find myself increasingly being asked whether solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are good investments at home.  There is no one answer to this question, but set out below are my suggestions of points to consider. The roof Firstly, do you own your home?  If you live in a flat, it is likely to be leasehold and so any roof installation would need the permission of the landlord. Assuming you have the right to install a PV system, your roof needs to be between east and west facing – ideally…
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BEIS’ Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) grant

The University has been awarded a £100,000 grant from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The grant comes from BEIS’ Green Heat Network Fund (GNHF) and will be fund matched by the University. The GNHF aims to transform UK heating by switching existing heat networks to low carbon fuel sources. This grant will enable us to commission design work to assist with the decarbonisation of the heating systems at Whiteknights campus. Specifically this will focus on plans to install a large heat pump into our energy centre. The energy centre currently provides heating to 16 buildings on the…
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