May 2, 2014, by sustainablenottingham

Carbon emissions – they don’t all come from buildings you know …

The University’s Director of Sustainability, Andy Nolan, writes “One of my responsibilities is to ensure we are able to monitor our carbon emissions and to be able to communicate this effectively. As you might expect, we have been able to establish the emissions we generate from consuming electricity and gas in our buildings quite easily and have been doing this for a number of years. Indeed, we have shown, despite the University’s growth, we have been able to steadily reduce our emissions that are, largely, generated in the process of powering, heating, lighting and cooling buildings in which people go about their daily business. My excellent energy and carbon team are not only monitoring and measuring of course – they are also investing in our campus to improve efficiencies, generate our own energy and reduce carbon emissions.

All of that means we have seen the emissions reduce from almost 68,000 tonnes in 2009/10 to just over 61,000 tonnes in 2012/13. It’s a good start, but we need to do more, and bigger, projects if we are going to hit our carbon targets. That’s why we’ll be consulting with you over the coming months to hear your big ideas on how we can do this. In the meantime, we’ll be working on some big ideas too – watch this space, but also watch out for new energy generation schemes across the campus too.

Here’s where you come in – because, whilst you already know you can make a difference in reducing energy consumption in your office, lab, teaching room, research centre or wherever you are, you can also make a significant difference every day in other ways too.

Last year we made a commitment to start to put in place mechanisms to be able to record other emissions we generate as a result of the things we buy and consume. We call these ‘indirect carbon emissions’. For example, when you buy a box of pens, there is carbon consumed in extracting the raw materials, manufacturing the pens, packaging, delivering them, and disposing of them. Buying less, consuming less all contributes to the reduction of our indirect emissions. In the latest Estate Management Returns to HEFCE there was an option to include these indirect emissions and we have included this data around the following areas.

  1. Water Use
  2. Waste & Recycling
  3. Travel
  4. Procurement

We learnt that our indirect emissions are bigger than our direct emissions – and in total amount to 85,041 tonnes, split as follows:

Water Supply – 283 tonnes
Wastewater Treatment – 583 tonnes

Waste and recycling operations  – 156 tonnes

Business travel total emissions – 6,452 tonnes

Staff commute emissions – 4,726 tonnes
Student commute emissions – 3,514 tonnes

We have already made some significant breakthroughs in this area – some high profile projects like the Sustainable Print Service realises significant benefits and we’re working on a range of other initiatives to reduce carbon emissions in our vehicle fleets, reduce redundant furniture, minimise waste generation and promote healthy, safe travel.

If you want to find out more about how you can reduce the environmental impact and carbon emissions associated with what you buy, take a look at the sustainability pages managed by the University’s Procurement service“.


Posted in carbonITprocurementsustainabilitytransportwaste