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Climate action

Monitoring and managing the energy we use is important to reducing our carbon footprint.

As a large organisation with thousands of staff and students, we consume a lot of energy.

We want to ensure that we only consume what's necessary and that the energy we use comes from a source that’s as renewable as possible. That’s why we are reviewing renewable energy sources to achieve our commitment of being carbon neutral by 2030.

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Sustainability at York

Carbon Management Plan

Carbon reduction is vital for the environment, and makes good business sense as fuel prices rise.

Carbon Management Plan 2011 (PDF , 1,509kb) has been developed to detail our commitment to carbon reduction and to comply with HEFCE requirements.

An Interim Carbon Reduction Plan (PDF , 279kb) has been developed before a more detailed plan is created and published.

The plans aims to reduce our carbon emissions by the equivalent of 38 million miles in an average car.


DetailsCarbon savingsTonnes

Improve usage information
and monitoring 

It is only possible to provide information on achievement against targets and the success of specific initiatives if we have the correct monitoring and reporting processes in place. This detail will also provide valuable feedback to users about their energy consumption levels. 943
Behavioural change

We have been successful in targeting specific behavioural change through staff and student campaigns. We will continue and expand the number of types of campaigns and encourage involvement by making them more targeted and introducing an element of competition.

Improve the energy
performance of the estate
Founded in the 1960s the University has a legacy estate including outdated resources for energy provision. Significant progress to date has been made to improve our energy efficiency by introducing 21st century technology and standards to improve the overall energy performance of the estate and this is planned to continue. 4,814
Upgrade existing energy
supply capability
The University’s main source of heat energy is through the central boiler house which also dates back to the 1960s. There has not been any significant upgrade of this facility and modern technology provides considerably more efficient ways of producing heat and electricity. The original philosophy for distributing heat around the campus was through a district system. It is now time to upgrade and extend this capability. 10,393
Introduce new low carbon
sources of energy
We are keen to introduce diversification within the energy supply market including sources of renewable energy. This will start with the introduction of wind turbines new biomass boilers. 3,468

Forecast savings from these initiatives amount to 20,476 tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020. The Carbon Management Plan lays out in more detail the aims, objectives and principles relating to our approach to carbon management and energy efficiency. 

DECS Quality and Environmental Policy

Our Estates Services are improving the sustainability of the campus through operating an Environmental Management System in accordance with their DECS Quality and Environmental Policy. The system has successfully achieved certification to the ISO14001 standard.

Heating and cooling policy

Our heating and cooling policy is integral to campus-wide energy-saving initiatives aimed at achieving net-zero carbon goals and reducing costs. Maintaining target temperatures not only ensures comfortable working environments but also contributes significantly to a more sustainable future.

In addition, our Estates team survey and remediate any buildings where specific issues have been identified and which don't allow spaces to achieve the required target temperatures.

By adhering to these temperature guidelines, we promote energy efficiency, minimising the environmental impact associated with excessive heating or cooling. The policy underscores our commitment to creating a more sustainable, and energy-efficient university environment.

Read the Heating and Cooling Policy (PDF , 391kb)

Climate action initiatives

The following initiatives are helping to reduce staff and students' carbon footprints across campus:

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Sustainability at York