Annual Sustainability Report 2019/20

Our latest annual environmental sustainability report, covering the 2019/20 academic year, is now available here. The report summarises progress against our key sustainability targets over the past 12 months, reviews wider sustainability initiatives and looks to the upcoming year. This year, we have also had to take into account the impacts of Covid-19 in our reporting; so as well as reporting our absolute impacts on the environment, where possible, we have also included progress to the end of January 2020. Highlights By January 2020, the University had achieved a 44% reduction in its carbon footprint compared to its 2008/9 baseline. This…
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In defence of ‘Net Zero’ Carbon

“Net zero carbon" seems to be the new catch phrase in discussions on climate change action, but what does it mean, and is it just green wash? It's fair to say there are different interpretations of what 'net zero' means, and some frankly dubious claims being made about appropriate pathways to net zero. That said, there are good guidelines available which set boundaries and standards for robust net Zero plans, such as PAS 2060 and the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The University sees Net Zero Carbon as meaning: Cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as little as possible and then…
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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…
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Why meeting our carbon target matters and how we can achieve it

  Opinion: Dan Fernbank, Energy Manager  Back in 2011, the University committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 35% by July 2016; one of the most ambitious targets set amongst our peers over the timescale.  For very many reasons, meeting that target matters. We have invested over £3 million in energy efficiency initiatives since 2011; already returning almost £10 million in cumulative financial savings.  In a period when the funding model for universities has fundamentally shifted, savings of this size make an important contribution to the university remaining financially as well as environmentally sustainable.  Both the investment and savings to…
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Latest carbon reduction projects underway

Here’s our latest carbon reduction project news.  Lighting improvements We’ve been investing in lots more energy efficient lighting, with improvements in 3 of the SAGES (School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science) buildings now pretty much complete.  As well as more modern, efficient light fittings, intelligent sensors have been installed to make sure the lights dim/turn off when there is either sufficient daylight, or no one is present.  Further lighting work is shortly due to begin in the Maths & IT building and the Harborne building and our thanks go to the Green Impact teams in both buildings, who highlighted…
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University awarded £500,000 of energy efficiency funding

The University has been successful in a £500,000 bid for energy efficiency funding to HEFCE’s Revolving Green Fund.  This funding is a major boost to reaching our 35% carbon reduction target by 2016, and will be invested in a wide range of projects over the next 15 months.  Planned projects include: Expanding our energy metering in key buildings right across the estate, to increase our understanding of how buildings are performing Continuing our programme of upgrading inefficient lighting and installing lighting sensors where appropriate Investigating the suitability of LED street lighting and subsequent installations Surveying Whiteknights’ campus buildings to identify…
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UoR awarded Platinum for Environmental Management System

The University has been awarded the Platinum standard for implementing a full Environmental Management System.  An EMS is a structured framework that enables organisations to reduce their environmental impacts by implementing environmentally aware management practices; this covers areas as diverse as the use of natural resources, handling and treatment of waste, sustainable procurement and energy consumption. The University signed up to the EcoCampus scheme which was set up specifically for the higher education sector.  The system is implemented in four phases; bronze, silver, gold and platinum, each stage is audited by an external party and an awards are subsequently given…
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The Great Debate: Homes of the future – Tuesday 19th March 2013

Part of Reading Science Week 2013, join the annual Great Debate, organised by the Engineering Institutions of the Thames Valley, to discuss how we can create sustainable homes for the future. For further information please click here, GreatDebate2013. Click here to register for this event. Admission is free, but places are limited. Booking essential. 7.00pm Palmer Building Whiteknights campus
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