August 24, 2020, by sustainablenottingham

The Challenge Ahead

The entire University was forced to adapt quickly to Covid-19, and everyone rose to the challenge. We have now moved into the ‘recovery phase’; our Energy team are working hard to reopen buildings, so that we can welcome back staff and students to campus. This new phase presents a fresh challenge, that we must all play a part in solving 

The University spent £8m  on electricity in 2019/20 and we spend around £14m on energy and water in total. 

Following the Covid-19 pandemic we need  to reduce  our spend on energy and water by  15%  in 20/21 – that’s  £2½ million - the equivalent of all the power used at Sutton Bonington Campus  in a year. Whilst we’re always working on projects to reduce energy consumption it’s vital all of us – you – contribute.  

Despite the disruption that the coronavirus has caused, we also continue to be committed to reducing our carbon emissions and supporting the city of Nottingham with their ambitions for Carbon Neutrality by 2028. These commitments will be met through a combination of energy demand reduction, system efficiency gain, investing in low or zero carbon energy generation, and carbon capture and offsetting. 

So far, as a University we have invested in the first three areas identified above. Examples include increasing the thermal performance of our buildings, upgrading our buildings’ engineering services and investing in renewable technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels and heat pumps. However, despite investment in on-site renewables they still only account for 1% of our energy demands, and the growth of our estate has reduced the impact of efficiency gains in buildings. We need to do more. 

To meet our targets, we must continue to invest in these areas at an increased rate and look to invest in carbon capture in future. We currently do not have on-site windfarm energy generation, and there are currently investigations into 2MW solar panels for Sutton Bonington Campus. In addition, you, as a part of our university, also have a significant role to play in our goals for carbon neutrality.  

A Call to Action

We must avoid returning to ‘business as usual’, which in our case is a situation where electricity is just ‘used’. As well as a necessity, this is an opportunity. An opportunity to go further than switch off, turn down and use less. We ALL need to do things differently, more efficiently, share ideas on where improvements could be made, and educate others to work and learn in the same way.  

We need to consider broad and narrow focus solutions, looking at improving our own personal working environments but also wider initiatives to further support the community.  We need to do this by supporting the work already being done and try to accelerate this by sharing ideas and best practice and changes in behaviour.  

What would you like to see at the University, to reduce our energy and carbon? Don’t miss ideas just because they are not the norm, we’re in  an as yet  undefined ‘new normal’; we have all shown through the past few months that we can adapt to a new way of working. 

New approaches and partnerships to change behaviour or to invest in our energy infrastructure will provide fresh, impactful solutions. So do you have ideas and thoughts on how we can do things differently and reduce unnecessary energy use, have you implemented measures within your work area that have reduced energy consumption? – If so we want to hear from you at 



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