University of Reading

The award-winning University of Reading Energy, Environment, Sustainability and Travel (EEST) Team has come a long way in the last two years. They believe raising awareness is a vital tool for minimising their university’s environmental impact.

Sustainability at the University

The University of Reading has a strong academic record regarding climate change and sustainability research. The University recognises the need to ‘walk the talk’, and therefore works closely with its leading academic centres, such as the Walker Institute for Climate Systems Research and the Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments (TSBE Centre), with practical and intuitive initiatives to reduce its own carbon footprint and ultimately its impact on the environment.

Setting a baseline

In order to measure success, the team have set up a detailed monitoring and targeting system to keep track of utility consumption across the four campuses and halls of residences. They also track their individual waste movements using a ‘pay by weight’ system.

The collection and analysis of this data has enabled The University of Reading to set a carbon reduction target of 35% by 2015/16, as part of its Higher Education Carbon Management Plan (HECMP).

Engaging staff

The NUSSL (National Union of Students Services Ltd) Degrees Cooler programme has helped recruit 19 teams of motivated staff from around the University, who complete tasks in an environmental handbook.

The ‘Smarter Approach to Behavioural Change’ project in the Student Services Building has helped staff reduce small item electricity usage by 25%. Initiatives have included shut down weekends, a lighting controls refit and a competition to write a green mission statement limerick.

Regular Litter Picks are held and are open to both staff and students. It makes a real difference to the appearance of the campus and also helps people get a dose of fresh air.

Working with the student body

The NUSSL Student Switch Off campaign has helped the University achieve a 9.4% reduction in halls of residence electricity consumption. This year the winning hall received rental for an inflatable gladiator arena for their end of year party.

EEST Team members also sit on the Student Green Group to listen to concerns and ideas of the student body.

The Team are currently working with Reading University Student Union to reduce energy consumption in the Union via detailed energy surveys and engaging with building users, including shop keepers and students.

The future

The EEST Team believes that it’s vital to regularly communicate their success to staff and students. It’s important that people know the University takes environmental and sustainability issues seriously and that they can help support and grow ideas.

Over the coming years, they will look at innovative ways to meet and even exceed the University’s 35% carbon reduction target. Alongside rationalisation of University space, they also already use renewable technology on site, including a ground source heat pump, solar PV and solar thermal cells. This technology will become increasingly important in the future.

For further information about what the EEST Team do at Reading, please visit their website:

Main Contact Name: Denise Shearman, Head of Campus Services
Main Contact Email & Telephone: and 0118 378 6246
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