Working towards net zero carbon

Our pledge to become a net zero carbon campus means making significant and rapid changes to reduce carbon emissions to the lowest amount – and offsetting as a last resort. We’ve set a target to reach net zero scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions from our buildings by 2030, and are committed to getting scope 3 emissions to net zero as soon as possible. 

Annual Report 2021-22

We continue to make considerable progress towards our strategic goals. You can read about our recent achievements in our Annual Sustainability Report 2021-22 (PDF, 5,466kB)

8 Point Plan

Our 8 Point Plan on carbon explains how we will achieve our 2030 target. 

Carbon Offsetting

With the Climate Emergency declaration of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, we also pledged similar action on Scope 3 emissions. Read more about the University of Bristol position on Carbon Offsetting




What we have achieved

The University has reduced its Scope 1 and 2 emissions under ISO 14064 from 46,919tCO2e in 2007-8 to 28,905tCO2e in 2021-22, our most recent audited year. This is against a 70% increase in staff and student numbers in the same period.

If we consider the properties over which we have operational control, and don’t include properties owned by third parties, emissions have fallen by 45% from 2007-8 from 45,166 tCO2e to 25,008 tCO2e in 2020-21.

Key projects that have helped us to do this are:

  • Introducing heat pumps and better heating controls in our electrically heated halls of residence.
  • Instituting advanced control in laboratories to reduce the need to condition air.
  • Recovering rejected heat from refrigeration to warm buildings.
  • Improving boiler efficiency.
  • Installing efficient LED lighting with responsive controls.
  • Installing half a megawatt of solar power.

This is all on top of more standard measures such as insulation, control, and helping building users to understand local systems.

51% of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions are from electricity and 20% of our electricity is now bought from certified renewable sources, with retired Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin and audited to check that there is no-double counting of benefit. This provenance is sufficient to count this as zero-carbon electricity under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Market Based Approach.

We measure and uphold the ISO 14064 standard to monitor our progress towards carbon neutrality using 2007-08 as a baseline. 

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