Higher Education Sector Carbon Management Plan Review Project

The Higher Education Carbon Management Plan project (HE CMP) was conducted in early 2015 with the aim of providing information to enable the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to assess where Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are in terms of implementing their own carbon management plans and setting their own targets. This would provide overall assessment of whether the HE sector is likely to meet the legislative requirements under the Climate Change Act and would provide the SFC with recommendations of where investment should be made for maximum impact of carbon reduction.

The Scottish University Directors of Estates (SAUDE) and consultant Jennifer Cassells were engaged with to collate and assess data under the following objectives:

  • Review all Scottish HEIs Climate Action Plans to provide a carbon footprint for Scottish universities

  • Establish what individual institution carbon reduction targets from current until 2020 via an updated project register

  • What progress has been made against these targets?

  • What key actions and technologies are for reaching targets – large and small scale?

  • Which actions and/or technologies will have the most impact in reaching those targets?

  • Provide an analysis report with further recommendations to the Scottish Funding Council which will inform the key investments for SFC and institutions to focus on, to help the sector move towards its legislative carbon reduction targets.

The project found that there was a modest decrease in carbon reduction in carbon emissions from HE institutions and that this is part of a general reduction trend. The data showed that most of this reduction is due to traditional energy efficiency projects being implemented such as heating and hot water controls as well as physical estate renewal and rationalisation. The focus of these projects tended to be on reducing gas consumption.

Future project themes under consideration seem to follow in the same vein as completed projects i.e., energy efficiency and building optimisation. However, the number and scale of projects in process needs to be greatly increased if the sector is to achieve any substantial carbon reduction over time. A greater diversity of project types is also needed, now that many of the easier approaches have been explored.

To read more and the full project report please download from below.