According to research released by sustainability consultancy Brite Green, English universities have made steps forward in reducing carbon emissions in the academic year ending in 2015. However, targets in this sector are unlikely to be met.
Higher education emissions dropped in 2014/15 but still remain well above the target figures. The higher education sector in England has improved its carbon emissions reduction performance compared to last year, but it is still off track to achieve the 2020 targets. According to projections, if emissions continue to fall at the current rate, the sector will achieve a 15% reduction by 2020 from the 2005 baseline. This is still far from the 43% HEFCE target , established to help meet the UK’s carbon reduction commitment set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 , and the self – imposed 37% emissions reduction average target for all institutions.
In the third annual University Carbon Progress Report, Brite Green analysed publicly available data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and HEFCE . Institutions were able to review data to ensure it is accurate and applicable. To strengthen efforts in providing relevant data and supporting practitioners, this year B rite Green also survey ed energy managers and carried out detailed stakeholder interviews to analyse challenges, opportunities and best practices in carbon management.
The most recent data show absolute emissions reductions achieved to date of 10% in 10 years. At the same time, 71% of universities are set to miss their own 2020 targets. This is still a slight improvement from last year’s analysis, with an additional 3% reduction compared to 2013/14.
Brite Green Managing Partner Darren Chadwick states:
“Universities have reached a significant milestone this year having achieved an overall reduction in emissions of 10% from 2005, against a background of significant commercial growth”
Only 30% of universities are on track to meet their carbon targets.
Of the 12 6 institutions analysed only 37 are on track to meet or exceed their targets, a slight improvement from 2013/14. The report also reveals that there is a large gap between top and bottom performers across all carbon metrics. The top ten performers, led by SOAS University of London, have all achieved absolute emission reductions of more than 38% from the 2005 baseline. Like last year, the bottom performers continue to move further away from their targets.
Commercial growth, weakening policy and post – Brexit uncertainty are key factors in poor carbon performance
Commercial growth continues to be one of the most significant challenges faced by institutions when trying to achieve absolute emissions reductions. This year, energy managers also highlighted that political uncertainty – particularly post-Brexit – has become another significant challenge.
UK carbon targets and the Paris Agreement frame the need for better results
The UK’s legally binding carbon targets together with China and the USA’s recent announce ment that
they will ratify the Paris Agreement on carbon emissions mean that more is needed to match climate
action with policy objectives.
Universities have started to implement broader sustainability strategies
Amidst setbacks, universities continue to implement effective carbon reduction strategies and are now moving towards a more rounded approach to sustainability management across each institution. Carbon reduction challenges are being tackled by broader sustainability programmes and cross-department al collaboration.
Across the board most universities still have aspirations to grow research and student
numbers so it makes carbon reduction very tough
Universities are improving efficiency
The majority of institutions have continued to improve efficiency, both in relation to revenue and floor
space. Since 2008, university emissions intensity has fallen by 33% when measured against income
(£) and 16% when measured against floor area (m2).
“Regardless of our sector target I still feel like any absolute reduction in a growing sector/business is
impressive. Across the board most universities still have aspirations to grow research and student
numbers so it makes carbon reduction very tough ” notes Iain Patton, Chief Executive of EAUC .
Brite Green is consolidating itself as a leading advisory firm for the sector
In its third year, the report has provided the opportunity for Brite Green to consolidate itself as a leading resource for carbon management in the higher education sector. Our research is used across the sector to design and evaluate carbon management strategies, and we have worked with universities to develop and improve all aspe cts of their sustainability performance.
According to Darren Chadwick, Managing Partner at Brite Green:
“A lot of great work has been done in the sector to tackle carbon emissions but progress to date highlights the need for better national collaboration. We have published a good practice guide this year to showcase the best practice at the institution level, but there is a real need for better policy and low-carbon infrastructure at the national level to help achieve our carbon reduction targets.”
Lots of resources are available for universities
Brite Green provides a detailed report on sector performance and individual reports for each institution free of charge. We have also published a good practice guide that includes practical insight and case studies from practitioners from across the UK.
Download the good practice guide from the Brite Green website
Brite Green is also offering free consultation to universities to identify areas for improvement in their
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .