SDG7: Affordable and Clean Energy and SDG13: Climate Action
The University of Northampton recognises the effects and implications energy has on the environment and climate change. That is why we are committed through our Net Zero Carbon target and low carbon energy solutions to continually develop and manage our estate in way that is consistent with SDGs 7 and 13.
Towards Affordable and Clean Energy
In 2017 the University set a target of reducing its scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 against the baseline year of 2005/06, the action plans set up to achieve this are outlined in our Carbon Management Plan. Following the review of our plan we have achieved this target with a reduction of 36%, a total of 2,665 tonnes of carbon.
Our mission is to continue to reduce our scope 1 and 2 emissions and work towards Net Zero Carbon by 2030 as part of our commitment to the One Planet Pledge. Our Energy Policy and associated action plans contained within our Environment Management System Manual outlines our current targets, strategies and processes for a range of environmental impacts including energy and carbon reduction. This commitment to clean and affordable energy is further supported via our Responsible Investment Policy, which states the University will not invest in fossil fuel extraction or exploitation.
Of the total 22,676 MWh energy consumed during 2019/20, 54% of this was generated from low carbon sources. This includes energy produced by our biomass boiler, solar PV panels and renewable electricity from our providers. The biomass boiler produced 2,655 MWh of heat energy during 2019/20, contributing 41 tonnes of CO2e to our carbon footprint. Our electric fuel mix consists of 97% from renewable sources. Our ‘100% Renewables for Business’ tariff supplied by EDF enables us to claim REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantees Origin) certificates. Whilst we have been on this tariff for 2019/20, our REGO’s are currently supplied until March 2020. If we were to only include 100% renewable electric supplied by EDF until March 2020, our renewable electricity makes up 76% of the overall fuel mix.
Our recent Green Award from Investors in Environment highlighted our excellent reductions in electricity, water, waste and carbon particularly the processes and Action Plans we have in place for measuring and monitoring our impact across a range of sustainability aspects. Further recognition of the University’s commitment to clean energy was highlighted in a recent U Switch study where the University ranked in the top tier of 105 universities tested, demonstrating that the university is doing better than 50% of other UK universities. Our Energy Report provides full details of the University’s total energy consumption and breakdown of our low carbon and renewable energy sources, both on and off campus for the academic year 2019/20.
The utilisation of the MeterWeb2 software and feedback into our Building Management System enables the University to spot where energy wastage maybe occurring enabling a better understanding of our energy consumption and potential savings to be made across the estate. Examples of energy saving measures are the recent roll out of LED lighting with light sensors and the refurbishment of the Development Hub, these and future construction and refurbishment projects follow our Sustainable Construction Policy.
- Invested in excess of £2.4m on carbon management projects and initiatives since 2008
- Build and refurbish our buildings to our Sustainable Construction Policy. BREEAM ‘Very Good’ Certification for our academic buildings (Creative Hub, Learning Hub, Senate) and Student Union.
- Move to our new SMART Waterside Campus
- Installation of our low carbon Biomass boiler and heat network saving over 400 tonnes CO2e during the 2019/20 academic year
- As part of delivering on our 100% renewables pledge, we have signed up to 100% Renewable Energy for Business tariff with REGO certificates
- Investors in Environment Green Award
- Sensor LED lighting throughout the campus
- Solar PV Panels at our St Johns Halls of Residence
- Installation of submetering software for active and continual monitoring of energy usage and potential wastage
- Working with the Environment Agency and Northampton Council in the development of the University’s flood prevention and response plans.
- To become Net Zero Carbon by 2030
- To continue active monitoring and measuring of our energy data
- To increase data and reporting of water consumption to identify water saving opportunities
- To continue working to the principles of ISO50001 standards as part of our Energy Management Plan
- To increase engagement with staff and students about energy and water use and behaviour through campaigns, surveys and initiatives
- To work with students and academic staff on relevant modules to support student engagement and awareness of the University’s sustainable strategies and policies
- Investigate feasibility of working with partners on a district heat network initiative in the local community
The University is committed to working with the local and wider community to highlight the importance of sustainability, including energy, low carbon technology and climate impacts.
In 2016 the Centre for Sustainable Business Practices (CSBP) was established to support businesses throughout Northampton and South East Midlands in adopting a social responsibility (SR) approach with customers, defining environmental regulations with suppliers or exploring ways to protect shareholders and optimising decision. The CSBP in now the home to active researchers within the Faculty of Business and Law. This Centre facilitates co-operation with colleagues across the University and with external partners with the goal of producing valuable research with demonstrable impact. Projects of note include a series of four webinars to help local organisations recover from Covid-19, with a focus on building better more responsible and inclusive businesses after the crisis and events aim at exploring issues of business and society.
The iCon Centre in Daventry, built on land donated by Northamptonshire County Council and Daventry District Council, demonstrates this commitment. The University partnered with the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) and the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC), with funding via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to provide space for start-up businesses with low carbon technology. The iCon have been developed to enable best practice in environmental innovation and forms part of Daventry District Council’s wider vision to improve Daventry and the local business economy.
Through the engagement with organisations across the Northamptonshire county as part of the University Sustainability Forum we offer support to local organisations on a wide range of areas, including offering support on energy efficiency, reducing carbon, sharing of best practice, site tours and 121 advice for organisations. We are looking to develop this further in the next year.
Northamptonshire Industry Led Forums are powered by the University of Northampton to support Northamptonshire Businesses across all sectors and sizes. All forums are open to those in the field to share best practice and be updated on a wide range of topics and collaborate on issues and find out how the University can support your business.
- The Northampton Sustainability Forum was formed in 2019 to enable organisations across the county to share information and collaborate on a wide range of topics in sustainability supporting organisations to reduce carbon and energy reduction targets.
- A founding member of Circular Economy CEC 3 Counties, this groups aims to bring together individuals and organisations throughout Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire to share and encourage circular economy thinking.
- Northamptonshire Climate Change Officer’s Group. As a member of this group, the University collaborates with local authorities, housing partnerships and hospitals across the midlands on the development and delivery of local authorities’ climate plans.
- West Northamptonshire Sustainable Food Place Action Group. We are a member of the Advisory Group working to make West Northamptonshire a place of good food for all, where healthy, sustainable food is available and accessible to everyone.