Friday, 12 March 2010

Energy and Carbon Management

One of the agenda items from the User Group that I didn't post about yesterday was our Print Management Team. This was established following our Environmental printing Review last year, and is made up of staff from CiCS, Estates (Environment team), Procurement and an academic department. Its main objective is to reduce the environmental impact of printing - to print less on more appropriate devices. They are promoting and sharing best practice, reviewing and rationalising the range of imaging equipment we have, and reducing the cost of print. this is a favourite hobby hose of mine, and print has a significant environmental impact - in 2007/08 the University printed 40m A4 sheets of paper of which only 34% was recycled, used 1,300 toner cartridges and produced 448.77 tonnes of CO2 from imaging.

The try and address this, the team are carrying out a series of print audits where they spend some time in departments carrying out a review of the departments printing needs and how they actually print, and producing a set of recommendations. This will result in an audit toolkit which will be on-line and anyone will be able to use it to look at issues such as total cost of ownership of different devices.

Today this was put into perspective as we had a departmental meeting, and had a presentation from the University Energy Manager on Carbon and Energy Management. One of the main Climate Change Act targets is for a national 34% reduction in greenhouse gas by 2020. HEFCE, our funding council, in its Strategy for Carbon Reduction in Higher Education aims to ensure that HE meets, and if possible exceeds, the government targets. There will be "funding incentives" to encourage us to meet the targets (fines if we don't??).

Like all HEIs we have an enormous utilities bill of many millions of pounds, and the bulk of our carbon emissions come from electricity. Apparently our carbon emission volume is equivalent to filling 520 Arts Towers!

So, how do we achieve the our carbon management objectives, and how do we reconcile business growth with carbon reduction? We need to embed a low carbon vision into all of our corporate strategies, management our space better and improve the efficiency of our building stock by investing in improved controls and equipment. We also need to work differently which will require significant behaviour and culture changes from all of us - staff, students, visitors and our suppliers. Some difficult decisions will be need to be taken.

No comments: