UoN targets net zero carbon by 2030

Posted 4th February 2021

The University of Northampton has reaffirmed its commitment to combating climate change by pledging to becoming net zero carbon by 2030.

The institution’s management team has endorsed the pledge to deliver net zero carbon by 2030, which means the University needs to eliminate or offset 5,000 tonnes of carbon emissions* by the end of the decade. You can see the University’s pledge on the One Planet Pledge website.

The news comes in the week Higher Education providers will come together at a UK Universities’ conference to discuss how to make campuses carbon neutral and future research into net zero topics.

Northampton’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Nick Petford, said: “The University of Northampton, and the Higher Education sector more generally, is looking at how best to respond to the challenges of carbon reduction.

“We are committed to taking a high-profile stance in the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference in November, and will work with staff, students and the wider community to deliver a coordinated response tackling climate change.”

The University is finalising its net zero carbon action plan, however it will largely focus on electricity and natural gas use at its Waterside campus, as they are the main causes of carbon emissions.

Measures it will look into include utilisation of the campus biomass boiler, which is a low-carbon renewable energy source; taking advantage of green business tariffs, such as green gas; investigating renewable energy generation via photovoltaic solar energy panels and turbines; utilising data collected from energy management software and pursue ways to further reduce energy use of buildings.

The University will also work with partners in Northampton, to see how they can support and learn from each other.

All University fleet vehicles, meanwhile, will be electric/hybrid, while a staff bike hire scheme is also being scoped out.

Director of Estates & Campus Services, Becky Bradshaw, said: “We have already exceeded our 2020 target to reduce Scope 1 and 2 [gas and electricity] emissions, but this reduction does not go far enough. It is widely acknowledged that universities are uniquely positioned to affect change through education, research, operational delivery and collaboration with their local communities, and it is vitally important we drive this change through our own commitment to net zero.”


*Scope 1 – from direct on-campus combustion of fossil fuels e.g. from gas and oil combustion for heat and Scope 2 – Indirect emissions e.g. from the production of grid electricity.