City Campus East

Member Article

Climate Week Focus: Cutting the carbon footprint

Tim Hall, Environmental Advisor at Northumbria University looks at how the university has worked to lower its carbon footprint.

Cutting the carbon footprint of the largest university in the region is no easy task.

With around 28,000 students on our Newcastle campuses and facilities that are open 24/7, we are constantly under pressure to offer increasingly high services and flexibility to our students and stakeholders.

However, we are committed to lowering harmful carbon emissions from our energy use as well as cutting out wasteful energy use. A massive £7.5 million investment is being made to reduce the University’s carbon emissions between now and 2020, including the installation of a new voltage optimisation system which will enable electrical equipment to operate with lower and optimised power consumption, replacing old boilers with high efficiency models, upgrading lights and updating air handling units.

Here at Northumbria University we have also adopted the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) to establish best sustainability practice for all new and refurbished projects which is expected to save 900 tonnes of CO2 by 2020.

In addition, a number of information technology reductions will be promoted. These include encouraging the sharing of printers and the procurement of carbon neutral hardware which offsets the lifetime carbon footprint of the device as well as remotely shutting down PCs left on by users.

With a pledge to more than halve our emissions by 2020, our people can play a key role. We are encouraging our staff to make small steps which, together, can have a cumulative effect. Simple things, such as switching off lights, PCs, chargers and printers at the end of the day, and switching on electrical items only when needed, can have a significant impact on an organisation’s carbon footprint. As a large organisation, we estimate such simple measures will enable us to save around 1,150 tonnes of carbon emissions.

The threat to global climate change from increasing CO2 emissions cannot be underestimated. While the driving force for this is the scientific evidence of global warming, this is also a matter of corporate social responsibility that makes both environmental and business sense. Increasingly, people are taking more note of organisations’ green credentials when choosing who to do business with.

So the message is clear. Businesses and organisations must engage with their staff, customers, stakeholders, suppliers and partners to take small steps to make a positive difference to carbon management that, in turn, will amount to significant carbon emission reductions and play a part in meeting the global challenge of climate change.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tim Hall .

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