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What is Bristol Uni doing about sustainability?

The University of Bristol’s pledge is to create a carbon neutral campus by 2030, which is supported by a robust carbon management plan.

The University of Bristol’s Sustainability Team pledge is to create a carbon neutral campus by 2030. This ambitious target is supported by the team’s policy and strategy, and a robust carbon management plan. The team continuously monitor carbon emissions and work to reduce the rates of energy use and the carbon impact of the physical estate.

A bit of history

In 2019, the University used 67.4 million kWh (67.4 GWh) of electricity, about the same as 15,000 households. 63.5 GWh of this came from grid electricity, supplied via electricity from renewable sources, costing £7.6m. In addition, 0.5 GWh was generated by solar panels on the roof of buildings, and 3.4 GWh (together with 4.6 GWh of heat) came from Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants which provide heat and power for key scientific buildings and for the swimming pool. The CHPs are fed by natural gas, and used 10.6 GWh of gas in 2019.

The University’s biggest use for energy is for treating and moving laboratory air in the Science and Engineering buildings. Lighting, IT servers and residences are also big users of energy in the University. Some of its heritage and listed buildings are difficult to make more energy efficient and they use more than equivalent modern buildings would. In 2019, the University paid £7.6m in electricity, £2.25m in gas and £1.0m for water. A further £700k was spent to reduce, reuse and recycle waste and to dispose of the remainder responsibly.

All of the University’s electricity is currently bought under a green tariff from wind farms in the UK, with 20% of it coming from long-term power purchase agreements in 2019. The Sustainability Team have installed air source heat pumps to provide domestic hot water in halls of residence, saving 0.6GWh of electricity a year.

A team effort

All users of the campus have a role to play in support of these goals. By educating staff and students, and making good practice standard practice, targets are on track. Regular student-led campaigns, supported by the Sustainability Team, also help to remind everyone to be conscious of their energy consumption.

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