A DRIVE to help fight climate change has seen the University of Sunderland smash its energy-saving targets.
The university has managed to cut its carbon emissions by almost a quarter in just six years.
The savings came about after the introduction of a range of innovative measures, including installing smart meters and efficient lighting into university buildings and campaigns to promote cycling to work.
Since the energy-saving drive was launched in 2005, the university has cut costs by about £400,000 a year.
The achievement puts it four years ahead of Government targets and creates a platform to build on.
Phil Marsh, the university’s director of estates and facilities, said: “Climate change is real and the emitting of greenhouse gases is one of society’s key concerns and one of the biggest challenges we face in the 21st Century.
“Since 2005, the University of Sunderland has worked in close partnership with the Carbon Trust to develop a sustainable approach to managing emissions.
“Our target was to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent over 10 years. The fact we surpassed this target by four per cent, four years earlier than scheduled, illustrates the university’s strong commitment.
“We are now looking to build on this success by integrating carbon management into the wider day to day business of the university to meet the Government target of 48 per cent reduction by 2020/2021.”
The Wearside university’s carbon reduction work also earned it the Carbon Trust Standard in 2009 and recently it received the accolade of having the greenest student accommodation in the UK.
In the next phase of the campaign the challenge is to get the support of the university’s 1,400 staff and 17,000 full and part-time students.
Phil said: “Moving forward we need to broaden the remit of changing buildings to changing behaviour, through the help and support of staff and students.”
The carbon-cutting measures introduced across some of the 36 buildings that make up the University of Sunderland’s City Campus and Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s include:
l Installing a ground source heating system in CitySpace;
l Upgrading insulation across the board;
l Boosting the university’s sustainable travel plan;
l Replacing outdated boilers;
l Installing LED lighting;
l Strict energy audits for all buildings;
l Introduction of electric vehicles;
l Improved waste management and recycling;
l Opening of a purpose built recycling centre.