University of Reading cuts emissions by a third through energy efficiency

The University of Reading has cut its carbon emissions by over a third since the 2008/09 academic year by using energy efficiency solutions in its buildings.

The University, which has produced a saving of £17m over a five year period, has cut its annual carbon emissions from 44,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2008/09 to just over 28,500 tonnes per year.

The total emissions saved over the five year period is 63,000 tonnes, which is equal to more than two years' worth of the University's current carbon output.

The institution has implemented a number of energy efficiency measures, including lighting, heating, cooling, insulation and building management systems. It has also installed solar panels on four of its buildings, as well as setting up an award-winning programme to improve ventilation to science lab fume cupboards and investing in equipment with lower energy consumption.

Following the success of the programme, and based on UK Government targets, the University has now set a target of 45 per cent carbon reduction by 2020/21, with plans already underway to reduce water consumption by 10 per cent.

Professor Robert Van de Noort, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Planning and Resource), University of Reading, believes that the success is not just due to the efforts of the Sustainability Services team at the University, but also the staff and students.

"The hard work does not stop here. Reading is committed to reducing its environmental impact and we are already working towards our new carbon reduction target," he said.

The University has invested more than £4m into projects aimed at improving energy performance, with the schemes generating the same amount in savings for every £1m spent.

The institution has also strived to encourage behavioural changes by hosting an annual ‘green week' to improve awareness of energy use, along with organising a Blackout evening where staff and student volunteers check what equipment is left on that could be switched off over the weekend.

Dan Fernbank, Energy Manager at the University of Reading, said: "In addition to the carbon and financial savings, we've also seen improvements to building environments, helping make them more comfortable for staff and students to study and work in.

"As a University with climate change close to its heart, staff and students were keen to understand how small changes can make a big difference. As we look towards our next challenge, I'm sure the University community will once again come together to help us achieve our target."

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