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Carbon management and reduction

As part of the Environmental and Sustainable Development strategy, we are committed to the responsible use of energy throughout our entire business. 

Energy consumption, cost and emissions will be considered in all aspects of university life and form a key part of decision-making processes. Wherever practical, energy conservation practices and measures will be implemented in order to reduce carbon emissions, conserve world resources, and minimise pollution whilst reducing the costs of purchasing energy. As a result, this maximises the funds available for teaching and learning.

Energy consumption

The University of Sunderland produces around 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum and has annual costs of over £2.3 million for electricity, gas and water. It is the responsibility of all users of the buildings and estate to ensure that the University's resources are used efficiently. The University intends to:

  • Meet the University ESD carbon management targets
  • Avoid unnecessary expenditure on utilities
  • Improve cost-effectiveness, productivity and working conditions
  • Protect the environment
  • Prolong the life of useful fossil fuels
  • Investigate and promote the use of renewable fuels


In order to do this, the University intends to:

  • Ensure that commitment is obtained from staff at all levels within the University on aspects of energy efficiency under their control
  • Make staff and students aware of the important contribution each member can make to conserve energy whilst maintaining acceptable environmental conditions
  • Purchase fuels and energy sources at the most economic costs
  • Incorporate energy technologies into building development projects
  • Reduce the amount of pollution caused by energy usage, particularly emissions which are the main contributor to global warming and the greenhouse effect
  • Invest in projects to reduce energy usage across the University
  • Set up and invest to save energy budget and strategy 


Carbon management

We are committed to managing our carbon emissions. In 2016/17 we achieved a 48% reduction, 5% over our carbon reduction target of 43% (University sector target) well ahead of the 2020/21 target deadline (based on a 2005 baseline).

Our Carbon Management Plan v1.1 sets out how we are aiming to reduce our scope one and two carbon emissions. We are also tackling the emissions from our scope three activities. Our carbon management plan projects include improvements to mechanical and electrical systems such as lighting, heating and insulation, to behaviour change projects seeking to engage with our staff and students in initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint.

Carbon Management Plan 2017 - 2018 is available.

If you have any queries regarding our carbon management plan or ideas on how to reduce our carbon footprint please contact hse@sunderland.ac.uk.  

What can you do to help?

  • Switch off all lights whenever you leave a room unoccupied and overnight. Office lights left on overnight use enough energy in a year to heat a home for almost five months.
  • Switch off your lights when the daylight provides enough lighting
  • If you see a flickering fluorescent tube, report it to facilities helpdesk as they use more electricity than when they are working properly
  • Turn your PC monitor off whenever you leave a room. Leaving items on standby still uses energy.
  • Always turn your PC off at night. Not all PCs are on automatic shut down.
  • A typical PC uses more energy than a 100 watt light bulb. Consider shutting down your PC if you leave the office for an hour or more and at the end of each day.
  • Don’t forget other non-essential electrical equipment such as desktop printers and projectors. Make sure printers (MFDs) are turned off at weekends and holidays.
  • Always turn off mobile phone chargers and don't leave them plugged in at the socket once fully charged
  • Don't forget to switch off desk fans
  • Always turn the radiators down by the thermostatic radiator valves before opening windows to cool a room
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and keep a jumper or cardigan handy before the need to turn the heating up arises
  • Adjust blinds to keep out direct sunlight and open windows before the sun reaches your room

Read our Energy Management Guidance (.pdf).

If you have energy saving ideas for the University, please do get in touch by email: energyawareness@sunderland.ac.uk.

Energy certificates

Our energy certificates are available to view and download in our Help and Advice section.