The University of Birmingham is committed to an absolute reduction in carbon emissions of 20% by 2020 from a 2005/2006 baseline. In order to achieve this we have undertaken a number of projects which have culminated this year in reduced CO2 emissions by 19.7%. This shows a marked reduction from our 2005/2006 baseline of 62,423 tonnes of CO2 down to 50,132 tonnes of CO2 in 2011/2012.
We will continuously improve on these figures due to our range of innovative projects to reduce our carbon footprint. Visitors arriving at University station may have been struck by the silver bridge over the railway line and canal. The bridge contains a steam pipe from our combined heat and power station to our Medical School, and has delivered more than the predicted CO2 savings of 1,500 tonnes/year. The scheme was recently shortlisted for a Green Gown award, which celebrate the tertiary education sector’s sustainability achievements. Similarly we were runner up in the innovation in fleet management category in the Energy Savings Trust’s Fleet Hero Award 2012.
Our students have played a significant part in the reduction of our Carbon emissions by taking part in Studentswitchoff, a fun not-for-profit energy saving competition which has been running at the University for the past five years, signing up hundreds of eco-power rangers pledging to save energy. The ‘heat is off’ as students compete between halls to be crowned the most energy efficient, winning prizes such as a visit from the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bus and a £500 bike voucher. Substantial energy and carbon savings have been achieved since running this campaign. Have a look at the Facebook page.
Teams of staff also participate in the Green Impact scheme which is an environmental accreditation initiative which encourages pro-environmental behaviours amongst staff and provides a framework for universities to improve their environmental performance. The participating teams at the University are required to complete an online workbook in which they accrue points and are then assessed by students and accredited with either Bronze, Silver or Gold status. The scheme is now in its fourth year (2012-2013) with 29 teams from across the University taking part last year.