Carbon neutral

Carbon Neutral Plan

Here at the University of Hull, colleagues and students are uniting in action towards a sustainable future.

We have an ambitious eight-year plan to become carbon neutral by 2027.

We have made good progress having already reduced our carbon emissions by 50%. We still have a lot to do and problems to solve, but as climate impacts become more severe, standing still is not an option for us.

The majority of our carbon emissions are from our production and consumption of energy. We have made significant progress to reduce our carbon emissions from these areas and that focus will continue.

Our plan is to be carbon neutral by 2027. Here’s how.

  • We are transitioning to renewable sources of energy to fuel the campus

    Progress to date

    We have already started our transition to renewable energy.

    We currently have a small amount of electricity generated onsite, through PV solar panels on some of our buildings – Larkin, Aire, Dearne and the Enterprise Centre.

    We have two Combined Heat and Power plants on campus, supplying some energy to power The Courtyard and Allam Medical Building.

    Next steps

    A high percentage of the carbon reduction on campus will come from exploring and implementing a range of renewable energy sources, together with exploring and implementing a range of technologies to create a highly efficient infrastructure. Those new technologies include storing energy from renewable sources on campus to use when energy demand increases, using boilers which generate heat and power from biogas grown from plants and using heat and hot water pumps which power down when there is less activity on campus.

  • Developing new Solar Farms

    In line with our sustainability ambitions, we are committed to finding alternative ways to power our campus in order to significantly reduce our carbon emissions and contribute to a sustainable planet.

    To help this drive, UOH Energy Co Limited is proposing the construction of a number of new solar farms, totalling 18 megawatt (MW), at various sites around Cottingham, including on the University of Hull campus/Inglemire Lane, Hull Road and Snuff Mill Lane.  These are a combination of ground and rooftop arrays.

    The process involved in creating power from sunlight produces no emissions and has a minimal environmental impact, making solar power one of the cleanest and most cost-effective forms of energy available.

    You can view the plans and more detail here:

  • Making further energy efficiencies on campus through optimising our estate and campus infrastructure

    Progress to date

    We have taken steps to become more energy efficient and tackle the overuse of heating, lighting and air conditioning, which not only enables us reduce our carbon emissions, but also reduces our fuel bills.

    As we have had a continuous programme of refurbishment and new buildings for colleagues and students, we have a mandated requirement to achieve a BREEAM Excellent or Very Good rating – depending on the existing building design.

    • Gas boilers - A phased replacement of old inefficient gas boilers is underway, with new boilers that are more energy efficient, reduces fuel bills and have a lower maintenance cost.
    • Lighting – A phased replacement of old inefficient fluorescent lighting with more efficient LED lighting as well as the installation of movement sensors.
    • Air conditioning – a trial Introduction of an air conditioning optimisation device across campus, which has achieved a 25% energy reduction. The rollout of this will be picked up as part of campus infrastructure improvements.
    • Windows - to reduce the loss of heat we have replaced old inefficient windows with modern equivalents or secondary glazing as part of refurbishment projects.
    • Insulating pipes - this reduces the amount of heat lost and keeps water hotter for longer, so we have introduced improved pipe lagging across campus.
    • A phased rollout of a Building Management System to enable us to monitor and control heating, air conditioning and lighting across campus, as well as have improved sensors and zonal controls so we can reduce energy usage in parts of the campus that are under-utilised.
    • Some teams have moved to a collaborative workspace, which has resulted in making energy and cost efficiencies.

    Next steps

    The implementation of these measures will continue across campus, as well as assessing a number of our old and under-utilised buildings, which are expensive to maintain, have poor energy efficiency and carbon credentials, and do not provide a good learning or working environment for our staff and students, with a view to selling, revitalising or demolishing the properties.


    This will result in a reduction in carbon emissions by making financial savings from the annual maintenance costs and energy bills.

  • We will increase our recycling rate and reduce our waste

    Progress to date

    We have already ensured that no waste from the University is taken to landfill. All dry mixed recycling is taken to a recycling centre for sorting and processing, and all our general waste goes to an Energy Recovery Centre where it is converted into energy. Once Energy Works opens in Hull, it will go there to produce energy to power homes in the city.

    Next steps

    We have more to do to reduce the amount of waste we generate and improve recycling rates. Recycling as much of our waste as possible not only helps the environment and prevents waste from going to landfill, but also saves the University money – it is significantly cheaper for the University to recycle than it is to remove general waste.

  • We will continue to reduce single-use plastics

    Progress to date

    The University has made significant progress in reducing single-use plastics across campus. So far we have:

    • In August 2018, converted the Arts Café into our first fully single-use plastic free outlet.
    • We encourage staff and students to use reusable cups by offering a discount on all hot drinks served in a reusable cup.
    • Sold over 7000 reusable cups, which have been refilled over 90,000 times.
    • Sold a further 19,000 hot drinks in reusable chinaware, saving disposable cups from landfill.
    • Replaced all single-use plastic cups with glasses in The Pantry and biodegradable paper cups in all other outlets.
    • We provide water urns in all outlets for staff and students to refill their own water bottles and installed more water fountains across campus.
    • Removed plastic bottles from all but one retail outlet and replaced with canned drinks.
    • Replaced all plastic straws with biodegradable alternatives.
    • Replaced plastic cutlery with sustainable wooden alternatives.
    • We now use paper bags or sheets of paper for retail products to be served in, replacing plastic bags.
    • We now use biodegradable take away boxes to replace polystyrene boxes previously used.

    The introduction of #MyPlasticPledge was a first step towards educating colleagues, students and partners to make a small everyday change that collectively will have a huge impact.

    Next steps

    • In December, we will partner with a new sandwich supplier who is working towards being plastic-free in its packaging (up to 50% of their product range is currently plastic free).
    • We are seeking to move to 100% vegware products, which are fully compostable.
    • We are sourcing alternatives to sauce sachets.

    We will continue to remove single use plastics across campus.

  • We will reduce our water consumption

    We will be working to reduce our water consumption and continue to improve infrastructure around campus.

  • We will continue to embed sustainable procurement

    We will update our procurement policy to ensure we source goods and services from ethical, sustainable and environmentally responsible businesses.

  • We will increase the levels of biodiversity on campus

    We will increase the levels on biodiversity on campus, both to protect and enhance animal and plant species, as well as to provide a space for our students to undertake fieldwork. Through our estate strategy, which will include a sustainable urban drainage system we will increase the levels of biodiversity, to become a natural habitat for species.

  • We will help colleagues consider sustainability when making travel choices

    Progress to date

    • We have introduced a new travel provider who is able to improve our carbon reporting to help us monitor and reduce our carbon footprint.
    • We have implemented 5 Electric Vehicle Charging Points on campus.
    • We have introduced electric vans and tools within the University’s support services fleet, which replace older petrol and diesel equivalents.
    • We have introduced a Liftshare scheme for colleagues and students.

    Next steps

    There is more that we can do to encourage staff and students to make travel choices with sustainability in mind. A travel and transport strategy is underway, which has carbon reduction as a key objective.