Energy & Water


Climate change and finite energy resources have been identified as two of the biggest challenges facing the world today. In 2008 the UK Government passed the legally binding Climate Change Act committing to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2050 and 34% by 2020 against a baseline of emissions in 1990.

The University of Greenwich has set targets to reduce its carbon emissions 30% by 2015 and 40% by 2020 on a 2009/10 baseline. In 2016/7 we exceeded our HEFCE 2020 carbon reduction target. We additionally have a corporate KPI to reduce our energy consumption fro m 27.9m kWh (2015/6 baseline) to 24.0m kWh by 2022. Our new 2019-2022 Carbon Management Plan sets out a programme delivering a range of actions to help meet our carbon and energy reduction targets. The carbon emissions included in the target include our Scope 1 (direct emissions) Scope 2 (indirect emissions from electricity we use) and Scope 3 (from our indirect transport related emissions (set out in our Travel Plan). We report all other Scope 3 emission through the Higher Education Statistical Agency EMR Report.

We are now running our Action on Carbon at Greenwich engagement campaign and encourage all staff, students and other stakeholders to review this document to help minimise our carbon use in our day to day actions and our systems and operations.

The bill for gas and electricity at the University is approximately £3 million per year. At Greenwich we are implementing a number of projects and programmes to reduce our carbon footprint (carbon footprint is a measure of how much greenhouse gases are produced, usually measured in tonnes of CO2), reduce the amount of energy used by the university and save money on our bills.

If you have an idea for a carbon saving then funds are available to deliver your proposal. Get in touch with us at

The University’s Heating & Cooling Policy  provides information and recommendations to help your comfort throughout the year.

All our halls of residence participate in the NUS’s Student Switch Off programme, this helps inform and reward students to cut their carbon (energy). Our own webpage with info about ideas and competitions can be found here. Our halls carbon emissions use can be viewed in this link. In 2016/17 student halls energy consumption was 8.2% of the University total.

Staff and students have been involved in consultations  setting out the new Carbon Management Plan (to be launched soon) to deliver our targets by the 2020 deadline. These insights have been invaluable in helping understand key issues and opportunities to deliver focused programmes to reduce energy use though for example behaviour change, system improvements and updating infrastructure.


The University understands the importance of saving waster an essential element of life and essential to our operations. Through the installation of over  130 waterless urinals throughout the estate we expect to save 13 million litres of water, the equivalent of 43,000 four minute showers. Low flow cisterns, taps and showers are installed in all our new and refurbished buildings. We encourage staff and students to reduce their water use wherever they can at our campuses and in our halls:

  • Don’t let taps run,  turn them off and report drips/leaks
  • When washing up use a bowl
  • Take a sub 4 minute shower

Tips to reduce your carbon footprint:

Staff and students

  • Turn off lighting and equipment in offices and lecture theatres (especially the last lecture of the day)
  • Switch off chargers when not needed
  • Turnoff your PC if you’re away from your desk for more than an hour
  • Don’t adjust thermostat controls or use fan heaters if you’re too hot or cold. Avoid opening windows if the heating or air conditioning is switched on. Contact your local Facilities Management Office to remedy the situation
  • Turn off running taps
  • Reuse and recycle as much as possible
  • Reduce the carbon impacts of your  travel
  • Buy less stuff! In almost every manufactured product carbon has been emitted in its production, distribution and sale. Try and buy less and consider the embedded carbon (carbon footprint) of what you buy and try and minimise it.

Staff you can additionally help by: asking your Sustainability Champion/Sustainable Development Unit for advice as to how you and your department can reduce your carbon footprint such as:

  • Use MFD’s rather than desktop printers
  • Consider carbon reduction opportunities in your research, projects and curriculum
  • As flights have a huge carbon impact look into ways to reduce or avoid business flights.


Energy used directly or indirectly by the university can contribute to our carbon footprint.  The images below illustrate the contributions of carbon that our activities and operations make. Scope 1 emissions relate to all emissions directly under our control (e.g. diesel used in our vehicle fleet or gas burned in our heating boilers). Scope 2 emissions cover our indirect emissions including electricity bought and used by our organisation. Scope 3 covers  all other indirect emissions  occurring from sources that are not our own. For example this would include business travel, the carbon footprint from procurement, waste and water provision.  This information is reported to our Sustainability Management Board.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Scope-1-2-3-Carbon-Breakdown-UoG.jpg

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2016-17-Carbon-Emission-Break-Down-UoG-1024x627.jpg

Data Analysis Opportunities

Staff and students can analyse our monthly electricity, gas and water use and renewable electricity generation  data by emailing for a full version of the spreadsheet imaged below. For specific projects access to half-hourly data is also possible. Contact the above address to request.


Case Study – Graduate Engagement helping Drive Efficiency Improvement

Over the summer of 2018 a graduate, Alex Andrew, worked with the Sustainability Team for three weeks to improve our analysis and management of carbon. This work delivered  practical tools that are helping us better target energy efficiency improvements including applying statistical analysis to provide up to date degree day data to help us identify efficiencies in the heating of buildings. Further work focused on utilising GIS to understand student commuting to help out green transport planning. Furthermore Alex applied his academic knowledge to develop a report highlighting the risks of climate change on the functioning and planning of our estate.

Governance and Staff and Student Engagement in Carbon Management

The University welcomes the input and engagement in our strategy to reduce our carbon footprint. Staff and students can get involved in many ways including:

  • Inputting into our Carbon Management Plan plus engagement with the Sustainable Development Unit & Estates Teams  to develop initiatives to improve efficiency.
  • If you have any ideas and recommendations to reduce our carbon emissions email:
  • If you would like to attend our Sustainability Management Board Meeting (which includes the review of our Carbon Management Plan contact
  • If you have a project that needs funding that would  reduce the energy use of the University email for an application pack.
  • If you would like to analyse our energy use and generation data contact us on the above email.
  • If you would like to further engage in the delivery of our Carbon Management Plan and discuss how it can be utilised as part of your teaching, learning, research or in its application as an element of the University’s Living Lab programme contact the above email.

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University of Greenwich Sustainability Blog