Million pound fund to help make university zero carbon

The University of Edinburgh creates Sustainable Campus Fund

A £2.75 million initiative is to help deliver staff and students’ ideas to make Edinburgh University carbon neutral.

The Sustainable Campus Fund will help bring to reality suggestions involving energy efficiency, renewable energy and other sustainability projects.

It is the first scheme from the University’s new Climate Strategy, which aims for the institution to halve its relative carbon footprint by 2025 and be zero carbon by 2040.

To meet the Climate Strategy’s obligations, the University will take action across all its operations, including on research, learning and teaching, operations and responsible investment.

The University will also expand its fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles.

In a pilot of the Sustainable Campus Fund, eight projects are already in action that will save around 600 tonnes of carbon per year. These include upgraded clinical research equipment, improved ventilation at the School of Chemistry, and a campus-wide project to make lifts smarter.

An expert group will be established to review what further investments in renewable technologies, such as solar and wind, could be made.

The development follows the University’s decision in May 2015 to use its investments and procurement power to support the transition to a low carbon economy and to divest from the most destructive fossil fuel companies.

In a joint statement, Senior Vice-Principal Charlie Jeffery and Edinburgh University Students’ Association President Alec Edgecliffe-Johnson said: “The time for debate on the science has long since passed, as has the time for arguments on whether to act.

“In this strategy, we commit to long-term goals to ensure we are leading the way in tackling climate change across all of our activities and recognising the core strength of the University as a globally connected, socially committed research and learning organisation.”

Edinburgh’s world-leading climate research has secured more than £50 million in funding over the past seven years for work including climate science, emissions mitigation and sustainable solutions. 

The University has also invested more than £30 million in low carbon and renewable technology on campus.

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