Reducing Carbon Emissions

Lancaster has topped the university league table for reducing carbon emissions. A recently released report shows that Lancaster University has reduced its carbon emissions by 47 percent.

Lancaster is one of only 44 institutions that are on track to meet or exceed their 2020 carbon reduction target set by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Brite Green, a sustainability strategy consultancy, analysed carbon emissions data from 2005 to 2013 for all 126 HEFCE-funded universities and colleges in England. Their research shows that the sector as a whole will only achieve half of the sector’s target of a 43 per cent reduction by 2020, which was set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.

Individually many universities and colleges are predicted to fall short of their 2020 carbon reduction target, with 39 institutions having increased their carbon emissions.

Having launched many carbon reduction projects, more recently Lancaster has won several major environmental awards, including the Carbon Reduction Award for the second time in the 2014 Green Gown Awards and the Green Flag award for the third time in 2014.

Lancaster has been particularly praised for its innovative wind turbine project, which generates approximately 15 per cent of the University’s annual electricity consumption reducing carbon emissions by 2,450tCO2e per annum.

Initiatives to encourage ‘green living’ have also been highly successful, such as the University’s Travel Plan which achieved its targets for 2015 for bus use, car sharing and sole occupancy car use two years ahead of schedule. More than half of staff and 88 per cent of students use sustainable methods of transport, resulting in carbon emission reductions.

Furthermore, Lancaster’s Biomass Boiler helps to heat the University by burning organic material – wood chips – to generate energy. The wood chips are sourced from local commercial forests and the trees are replanted following harvesting and managed on a long term sustainable basis. The boiler cuts carbon emissions by approximately 1000tCO2e per annum.

Lancaster University works innovatively with its Student Union to engage students in sustainability through an initiative called Green Lancaster. Green Lancaster encourages and embeds sustainable behaviours to reduce carbon emissions, energy and resource consumption associated with University activities and operations.