It's greener up north - university second in national league table

It's greener up north - university second in national league table

The University of Cumbria has been ranked second in a national league table of universities that have most reduced their carbon footprint.

Brite Green, a sustainability consultancy, compiled the league table to measure which universities have most reduced their carbon emissions over the past 10 years.

Out of 127 higher education institutions, the University of Cumbria came second with a reduction in absolute emissions by 48%. Only London Metropolitan University performed better with a reduction of 51%.

Universities have been challenged by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to reduce emissions by 43% to support the government’s overall carbon reduction targets. Universities had to develop carbon management plans to deliver the reductions by 2020.

Half way through the reduction period the university has exceeded the target and is on track to reduce emissions by 67% in 2020.

Stephen Miller, Director of Estates was delighted with the news, “This is fantastic news for the university and a testament to the hard work that has gone into reducing our carbon emissions across all our geographically and architecturally varied sites and campuses. There’s still a lot of hard work to be done but we’re thrilled to have exceeded the target 10 years early.”

The University of Cumbria reduced its carbon emissions from 9978 tonnes of carbon dioxide to 5159 tonnes, a reduction of more than 48%.

To achieve these impressive results, the university has reduced its inefficient building stock, invested heavily in low energy heating and lighting systems and improved building insulation levels. This included replacing elderly and end-of-life heating boilers with new, energy efficient water heaters and installing automated lighting sensors across all campuses to reduce energy wastage.

The reduction was calculated using historical data from 2005 to form a baseline figure which was then compared to data collated in 2014.

Brite Green previously released a report in April, which saw the University of Cumbria ranked in 5th place. However, after improving their data quality and expanding their analysis, Brite Green released a second report which saw the university rise up the league table to second place.

However, the higher education sector is performing poorly overall and projections suggest that the sector will only achieve a 12% reduction by 2020, far short of the 43% target set by HEFCE. Only three universities out of 127 are projected to be on track to meet their 2020 carbon reduction targets, but 28 universities could exceed their targets.

The full league table can be viewed on Brite Green’s website.