Carbon and Energy

Do you know?
100% of the electricity purchased by the University is from windpowerDo you know?
100% of the electricity purchased by the University is from windpower
The University has a long-standing commitment to reducing carbon emissions across its world class teaching and research activities. The result of this has been significant investment and a carbon reduction programme recognised for its impact by a number of national and international awards.


New carbon target banner

We are building on this success with the launch of an ambitious new carbon target - instead of our previous goal of cutting emissions by 33% by 2021, we are now committed to reducing them 50% from their peak by 2030.

Find out more about how we plan to achieve this and how to get involved.

For an overview of the steps we are taking to be more energy efficient please view our Carbon Management Strategy and Carbon Management Plan to the right. Activities range from installing solar panels and adding extra insulation to buildings to replacing particularly power-hungry equipment like ultra-low temperature freezers.

What we are doing

Did you know? 

100% of the electricity purchased by the University is from windpower.


We have developed a Carbon Reduction Programme to encourage energy efficient practices and to deliver emission reducing projects across the University estate. A significant annual budget has been allocated in support of the programme which involves working closely with departments to achieve our target.

The Carbon Reduction Programme covers a wide range of projects and engagement activities with a focus on:

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Building performance

We look to construct buildings which perform to high efficiency standards, including applying the principles of the Passivhaus methodology. You can find out more at Sustainable Buildings.

How high is your building's carbon footprint?

Find out here with our new emissions map (accessible through single sign on).

Image of a heat map showing hte University's carbon emissions in years 2018-19

The carbon footprint for each building is visualised as a square. Carbon emissions are based on how much energy is used in the building. The bigger your building’s square, the more carbon it emits. Some buildings are much bigger than others so, to keep things fair, the emission map also shows the emission density per m2. The darker the colour, the higher the building’s emissions per m2
The simplest way to reduce your building’s footprint is by using less energy. Find out how to save energy here. Most of the buildings with laboratories have a high carbon footprint and a high emission density. You can find out how to be more sustainable in your lab by visiting Sustainable Laboratories

We also maintain Display Energy Certificates for many buildings to inform building users about how efficient their buildings are. To find out more please go to Environmental Management

Encouraging sustainable transport and travel

We're committed to helping staff, students and visitors to choose ways of travelling on a day to day basis that make the least impact on our environment.  We support a number of schemes to make sustainable travel affordable and easy to use. In this way we can all make a real contribution to reducing carbon emissions, local air pollution and the congestion on Oxford’s roads. To find out more visit our sustainable travel site.

We look to:

  • install efficient equipment including through mechanical and laboratory optimisation work.
  • reduce energy lost through our networks including ensuring efficient energy production in our boilers including combined heat and power. 
  • use building management systems to fine tune our building services.
  • encourage behaviour change through Green Impact.
  • manage energy data (SystemsLink) and utility bills – the University collates utilities data in our online system. Building managers and others can then access this to help identify and address inefficiencies.

Energy and carbon compliance

Our Environmental Sustainability team is responsible for collating and reporting on the carbon and energy performance of the University estate. Data is required to comply with a number of different schemes. Find out about these schemes and how we manage our energy and carbon compliance on our Environmental Management page

Where applicable we're developing low carbon and renewable sources of energy.

Energy purchasing

We purchase 100% renewable electricity and are increasing on-site generation including over 2,000 solar panels, combined heat and power and ground source heat pumps.

With so many staff and students across the University, small actions soon add up to deliver a huge impact. To achieve our challenging target and be more energy-efficient across the University, we need your help! 

Small steps to reduce your energy consumption and carbon impact could be to: 

  • turn off your PC, both the computer and the monitor, when not in use.
  • turn off other appliances when not in use, especially over holidays.
  • don't overcool or overheat buildings and rooms, especially if there are manual controls.
  • choose sustainable travel options
  • open windows on warmer days and put clothes on before turning on heating.
  • acquire room thermometers and put up ‘before you go’ reminders in offices to save energy.
  • don't overfill the kettle and boil water with the pan’s lid on.




Carbon Management Fund

Funding may be available for carbon reduction projects and you can apply for this by contacting the Environmental Sustainability team.

Projects will need to meet stringent criteria and will be considered in terms of wider programmes of work to ensure best value.

To qualify for full funding, a project should have a business case that demonstrates a strong return on investment and which also clearly quantifies the tonnes of carbon emissions which will be saved. Where projects do not meet requirements, there may be part-funding opportunities which are assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

Funding is allocated against an annual budget on a rolling basis. Please note - this fund supports projects on the functional estate only.

For more information please contact the Environmental Sustainability team at



Carbon Management Strategy

View our Carbon Management Strategy



View our Carbon Management Plan


Get in touch

+44 (0) 1865 6 14605