Padd Energy

Net Zero Planning Tips for Universities

With 91% of UK students believing their place of study should actively incorporate and promote sustainable development, universities have found themselves at the forefront of the net zero campaign with many setting themselves ambitious decarbonisation targets.

The aim of many institutions to reach Net Zero up to 20-years ahead of wider UK targets may seem unrealistic given the challenges currently being faced due to Covid-19 and other economic realities.

However, as our energy system becomes more decentralised, the University sector is well placed to lead the way in achieving Net Zero emissions.

How can universities enact Strategic Energy Planning?

Wider measurement and reporting

Historically, carbon targets set by Universities, as defined by the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, covered direct emissions from activities owned or controlled by the institution (Scope 1) and indirect emissions from electricity consumed (Scope 2). In order to report the full carbon footprint, indirect emissions associated with University activities that occur upstream and downstream (e.g. waste, water, business travel) should also be considered (Scope 3). Several institutions are also actively looking to develop reporting for wider Scope 3 emissions such as staff/student commuting, procurement of capital goods and ICT.

Climate Emergency Framework

A University can help to develop their Net Zero approach in a number of ways, including various actions suggested under the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) ‘Climate Emergency Framework’:

A robust route map

Organisations such as Universities need a robust yet innovative energy route map, to understand how they will work towards Net Zero in the short, medium and long term. By developing a Strategic Energy Plan through a strong engineering led approach, institutions have time to lay the foundations of decarbonising their estate.

The Strategic Energy Plan should be considered an enabler; it allows short term decisions to be made within the wider framework of an overall Net Zero transition and helps ensure these decisions are ‘low regrets’.

Padd Energy works with public and private sector organisations, including universities.  supporting their decarbonisation journey and making net zero a reality. We have offices in London, Glasgow and Harrogate. To find out more contact

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