York St John University Carbon Reduction Plans

On the seventh day of COP26, Sarah Williams, the university’s Energy and Environmental Projects Officer, provides an update on how the university is working towards minimising its own carbon emissions. 

York St John University operates across a large estate including teaching and residential buildings that together are responsible for over 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Whilst this figure is less than half of that recorded in 2005, our baseline year, there is much work to be done to achieve carbon neutrality. The Estates Management and Development team has set an ambitious target to achieve an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 (against a 2005 baseline). How will this be achieved?

The university’s falling carbon emissions and future targets

Work on upgrading heating systems and insulating buildings will continue at pace, as will investment in renewable energy technologies such as air source heat pumps and solar panels. Replacing lighting with LEDs will make a significant contribution in some buildings in addition to investment in closer monitoring and management of energy use across the estate.

In 2019 we were the first university to sign an agreement directly with renewable energy generators to ensure a carbon-free electricity supply. We will be signing additional agreements in the coming years to continually increase the proportion of our electricity provided in this way.

With ambitious but achievable plans in place to meet our 2030 target we look forward to progressing towards being a carbon-neutral university.

Some of the university’s new solar PV installations. Credit: Oakwood Energy

Tomorrow we hear the view on climate justice from the YSJ Chaplaincy.