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#madeatreading: University hits 40% carbon reduction milestone

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The University has reached another crucial milestone in reducing its environmental impact, hitting a 40% reduction target in its carbon footprint.

In 2016, the University met its ambition of delivering a 35% cut in emissions, compared to its baseline 2008/09 emissions. This latest milestone leaves it well-placed to deliver on its current 45% reduction target in 2021.

The University is sharing its work to reduce its own carbon footprint as part of a week-long campaign highlighting environmental research. The week culminates in ‘Show Your Stripes Day’ on Friday, which invites the public to share professor Ed Hawkins’ climate stripes graphic available at showyourstripes.info to raise awareness of climate change.

Dan Fernbank, Energy & Sustainability Manager at the University, said: “Environmental concerns have increasingly become headline news in recent times, and we are seeing a significant rise in the expectations and ambitions of students and staff for the University to demonstrate environmental leadership.

“With a large and evolving estate, there is always more work to be done and we will continue to run a strong sustainability programme to deliver lasting change. We are committed to embracing new and innovative technologies to help the University wipe out its carbon footprint.”

This year has seen some major advances in reducing carbon emissions, including extending the University’s district heating system – a more efficient centralised heating system that reduces pollution – to two additional science buildings.

A large expansion of the University’s solar generation capacity has also taken place, with more than 1,000 individual panels now installed across campus.

A furniture and equipment recycling scheme has helped the University reduce waste and saved nearly £100,000 in the process. The Warp-It scheme allows office supplies and furniture that are no longer needed in one office to be reallocated to staff in different parts of the university, reducing the need to buy new items. This saved the University £44,000 in 2017/18 and has already saved £45,500 this academic year so far, with 700 items – equating to 9.1 tonnes – of equipment relocated.

We have also recently signed up to a similar scheme to share unused scientific equipment with other participating universities and colleges.

A new platform to engage and reward staff for taking environmental action was also launched at the University in November 2018. Almost 400 staff have already signed up to the app-based programme, which awards points for a number of environmentally-friendly actions, such as recycling, choosing sustainable travel options, and reporting energy and water wastage.

We were one of seven universities to sign up to the Government’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Pledge 2020 in October 2018. This was supported by both the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert Van de Noort, and President of Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU), Jason Dabydoyal.

Tips on being sustainable, including finding alternatives to driving to work, are offered to all staff at the University. For more details on the University's Sustainability Services, visit www.reading.ac.uk/sustainability-services

Follow the University’s campaign activities throughout the week on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and join the discussion using the hashtag #madeatreading

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