Overall the University managed to cut carbon emissions by 4.5% for the academic year from September 2017 to September 2018. This was achieved through several means such as fitting new efficient LED lamps and reducing oversized boilers. Smart meters have also been installed to help identify areas of unusually high energy use so they can be investigated and fixed.
The figures were revealed in the annual Sustainability at Kent report. The document also showed that water use was reduced by 1.3% last year, a saving of 3,300m3. The amount of waste being reused, rather than sent for incineration, increased by 28% to 72 tonnes a year. The University also will make savings of £11,000 a year by retiring old and inefficient printers and replacing them with new multi-function devices that will reduce energy use.
The report also highlighted the work being done to promote sustainability through the University. This included the new Futureproof project that aims to ensure all future work undertaken by the University has sustainability at its core. The report also noted that there are 159 modules across all faculties that have been identified as having sustainability content within them.
Catherine Morris, Environmental Advisor in the Estates Department at Kent, said: ‘It’s fantastic the University is on track to reach its carbon emissions reduction target and that we continue to make progress in other areas too. We remain committed to ensuring the University is a responsible and ethical organisation in all that does.’
The successes build on other initiatives by the University to reduce its environmental impact wherever possible, such as introducing a sustainable food strategy. This includes cutting down on single-use disposable items, using more locally produced food and drink and eliminating palm oil in cooking.
The University also recently opened a community garden for staff, students and the wider Kent region. This will feature growing plots for fruit and vegetables that in time will be incorporated into the sustainable food strategy.
The University’s work in these areas is underpinned by its pledge to commit to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that it signed up to last March.