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    How we manage our carbon and utilities

    Carbon management

    Since 2005, the University has been measuring and reducing its scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint, reducing emissions from areas we can directly control, such as the heat we use in our buildings, the electricity we purchase and the fuel efficiency of our estates vehicles. By financial year 2019, our carbon footprint had reduced by 36% (Scope 1 & 2) equivalent to a carbon emission per FTE student reduction of 71%.

    These improvements were largely delivered by the Sustainable Transformation Energy Project (STEP) part of our renewable/low carbon energy strategy. Housed within our Energy Centre is a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engine (400kWe) and a biomass boiler (1MW). The biomass boiler uses woodchip fuel (sourced locally) to provide thermal energy to a 3.5km District Heating Network (DHN), whilst the CHP generates 1.5 kWh of thermal energy (heat) for every 1 kWh of electricity generated (power). The heat is effectively free of charge and is also distributed via the DHN. In addition, we also use solar energy to generate clean renewable power. A 650 kWp solar PV array, located on diary agricultural buildings provides (on average) 450,000 kwh of clean energy a year.

    This combination of solar PV (included exported energy to the grid) and biomass boiler produce 517,000 kWh of clean/low carbon energy. The energy generated by solar PV is enough to power the annual electricity demand for one of the following:

    • 165 typically family homes (3 bed)
    • 0.6 Faccenda buildings
    • 1.5 Library buildings
    • 3 Main buildings

    Looking forward, our Carbon Management Plan (2020-2025) has identified a series of projects and initiatives that should save a further 637 tonnes of Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions. These savings will come from significant investment in areas such as lighting improvements, constructional insulation, improvements to controls and additional connections to our district heat network. There will also be a big push on behaviour and engagement to ensure that all of the Harper community understand the role they can play to help manage and reduce our footprint associated with day to day teaching and activities whilst on campus.

    Net Zero Ambitions

    Beyond our Carbon Management Plan 2020/25, both our Farm and University operations need to begin the journey of planning for a Net Zero carbon future. To achieve this objective, we need to define, interrogate and report on the University’s scope 3 emissions, notably travel, water, waste and procurement. We will also need to scope emissions for our Farm whilst mapping potential mitigation projects against the National Farmers Union Net Zero Strategy over the same time period. We aim to complete this scoping exercise by 2025.

    After this date, we will be in a better position to fully understand the scale of the task and have set an ambitious target to become a Net Zero University by 2030 (scope 1 & 2) and 2040 (scope 3). Our ambitions for Net Zero also include the Farm and we will align our Farm targets to the NFU: Achieving Net Zero goals, by 2040 latest.

    2018/19 Carbon Footprint Tonnes CO2e


    The University’s annual utilities bill is typically £1.6m per annum. We can save around 10% of our energy consumption by changing our behaviours and implementing better housekeeping. All staff have responsibility to ensure that non-essential equipment is turned off, whenever practical, but especially during non-working hours including: 

    • Computers 
    • Laptops 
    • Monitors 
    • Desktop Printers 
    • Lights 
    • Air-conditioning 
    • Ensuring that windows are shut 

    Display Energy Certificates 

    Display Energy Certificates (DEC) indicate to the public a building’s energy use and carbon emissions, known as its energy performance. They use a scale that runs from ‘A’ to ‘G’ - ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ being the least. View our DECs and related information searching postcode ‘TF10 8NB’.

    Reporting of any issues regarding unnecessary energy usage should be sent to the Estates Help Desk.

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