We are one of the top 10 universities in the country in terms of onsite electricity generation from solar panels. We have installed nearly 1,500 solar panels at our Moulsecoomb, Falmer and Eastbourne campuses, and at our Varley Park residences. These arrays between them generate around 435,000kWh each year, cutting our annual CO2 emissions by 175 tonnes.
The solar arrays at Varley and Eastbourne were installed through an innovative collaboration with Brighton Energy Co-operative – a community energy organisation whose members invest to develop renewable energy systems in Brighton and the south-east.
In addition, we have also installed solar hot water panels on the roofs of our Hillbrow swimming pool building in Eastbourne and the Huxley Building at the Moulsecoomb campus.
All electricity used at the university is 100% renewable, generated mostly from onshore and offshore wind.
Our campuses are home to a wide variety of building types, ranging from old 19th century buildings to tailor-made new builds. We aim to achieve BREEAM Excellent standard for all our new developments, as well as working to improve the energy efficiency of our older buildings through sustainable refurbishment projects.
The university has a rolling schedule of lighting upgrades across all campuses, increasing the proportion of energy-efficient LEDs. A recent installation of efficient lighting at our Aldrich and Falmer Libraries is saving 48 tonnes of carbon a year.
Heating and ventilation is a significant contributor to a building’s carbon footprint, which is why we’ve implemented a range of initiatives to lower this impact.
- An Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) system – an innovative way of heating and cooling one of our largest buildings, using water from hot and cold wells below the site.
- Low-carbon Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units - cutting our carbon emissions by generating electricity at the same time as providing heating.
- An extensive building energy management system (BMS) - ensuring our buildings are comfortable places for work and study, while achieving the most efficient use of energy across campus.
With IT equipment being so integral to the work of a modern university, we’re working hard to ensure our IT services are run as sustainably as possible.
A particularly successful initiative has been the development of a state-of-the-art water-cooled data centre on our Moulsecoomb campus, providing energy-efficient housing for current and future departmental servers.
With over 4,000 desktop computers across our campuses, the installation of Power Down software has played a key role in further reducing the carbon footprint of our IT systems. The software ensures that all computers are automatically powered down when not in use, making a huge impact in avoiding energy waste.
Carbon Management Plan
The university’s strategic aim is to significantly reduce the university's carbon footprint, while the university's estate grows, without diminishing the student experience.
The university is tackling its impacts in many ways and has been implementing a number of carbon reduction projects through its Carbon Management Plan (pdf), which was updated in 2017 and has the ambitious carbon reduction target of 55% reduction by the 2020–21 academic year.
Savings on energy costs from carbon reduction projects are reinvested in further carbon reduction projects and sustainability projects, including behaviour change engagement campaigns, biodiversity initiatives, and sustainable transport infrastructure.