Cumbria achieves largest reduction in carbon emissions of any northern university

Cumbria achieves largest reduction in carbon emissions of any northern university name

The University of Cumbria has received a Brite Green Top 10 University Carbon Reduction Award for efforts in reducing its carbon emissions.

The university achieved second place in the national league table out of 127 other higher education institutions for reducing its absolute emissions by over 56 per cent. The university was only pipped into second place by London Metropolitan University who achieved an impressive 57 per cent reduction.

The reductions are measured using baseline data gathered in 2005. 

Commenting on the university’s achievement Paul McCulloch, Head of Estates and Property at The University of Cumbria, said: “The University has worked hard over the last few years to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Rationalising our existing estate coupled with significant capital investment in both new buildings and energy efficiency schemes has produced these outstanding results.

“Our newly opened teaching block in Lancaster achieved the SKA HE Silver rating and we are currently working with our partners at Salix to develop an energy efficient solution to our Lancaster campus district heating system which will include a combined heat and power unit housed in a new campus energy centre. We have also recently procured four fully-electric vans reducing our carbon emissions further”.

The University Carbon Report published by sustainability consultancy Brite Green shows universities in England have achieved their best year-on-year reduction in carbon emissions to date. Total emissions for English universities fell by 7 per cent in the 2015/16 academic year, in comparison to a 10 per cent reduction over the previous 10 years. 

“Universities across the country are demonstrating the benefits of implementing carbon management programmes, with some delivering incredible reductions” commented Darren Chadwick, Managing Partner at Brite Green. “Sustainability is a key strategic issue for Universities and leading institutions recognise that it needs to be managed across all aspects of university life; from teaching and research to investment strategy and estates management.” 

However, the report reveals that despite improved performance, the sector remains off track to meet its 2020 carbon reduction target of 43 per cent. If emissions continue to fall at the current rate, the sector is forecast to achieve only a 23 per cent reduction by 2020. 


Key findings also show that each year more institutions are improving their individual performance, though the majority are still off track to meet their own targets. Of the 127 higher education institutions analysed, only 52 are projected to meet or exceed their 2020 targets.