Carbon and energy

At Oxford Brookes, we recognise that urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change. We declared a Climate Emergency in 2021.

Our new strategy sets a target of a 68% reduction of scope 1 & 2 emissions (those relating predominantly to our buildings and infrastructure) from 2010 levels by 2030.

By 2040, we intend to become a net-zero carbon organisation, where only unavoidable emissions are offset. 

For information on how we plan to achieve these targets, download a copy of our latest carbon reduction strategy.

Solar panels

Our carbon management plan and targets

Phase 1 of our strategy aims to deliver a 68% reduction in emissions by 2030. This reduction target is underpinned by several core actions:

  • modernisation and rationalisation of the estate
  • optimising building performance
  • decarbonising heating, hot water and cooling, for example, with our new geothermal borehole system.
  • purchasing renewable energy and directly supporting generators.
  • adopting ultra low and zero emission vehicles.

As we move forward on this timeline, we will widen the basket of emissions within our carbon management plan. Moving beyond Scope 1 & 2 emissions, to a whole institution approach accounting for Scope 3 emissions. This will include, for example, research & teaching activities, staff and student travel, catering, procurement and investments.

With the necessary tools at hand a new ‘net-zero carbon strategy to 2040’ will be launched in 2023. The approach to net-zero will be based on the recognised sector level framework, currently under development by EAUC and the Department for Education. This approach will mean that our efforts and investments in mitigating carbon emissions will be collaborative, consistent, transparent, open and verifiable to our peers and stakeholders in Oxford and around the world.

Work on the Oxford Brookes carbon reduction strategy is undertaken by our Decarbonisation Strategic Lead, with oversight from the Head of Environmental Sustainability and the university’s Energy Management Advisory Group. Our carbon management strategy and associated action plans are an important part of our ISO14001 compliance. Copies of supporting action plans are available upon request.

Scope 1 & 2 emissions

By 2019/20 Oxford Brookes had reduced its carbon emissions by some 35% from its baseline of 14,640 tonnes CO2e per annum. In 2020/21 we are currently ahead of our emissions targets, but this was an exceptional year due to Covid-19 and we do expect emissions to return back on trend for 2021/22.

Carbon Emissions (Tonnes CO2e)
Source: HESA EMR Submission
2014/152015/162016/172017/182018/192019/202020/21
Grid electricity7,0725,9585,0784,0453,5862,8962,359
Oil22192625242225
Natural gas5,9836,3386,3706,4476,0686,6065,476
Vehicle diesel3750412620135
Vehicle petrol27211512995
Total scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions13,14212,38711,53010,5559,7079,5487,870

This data is for all of the University's buildings, both residential and academic. It excludes halls of residence managed by third parties which are outside of our Scope 1 & 2 emissions boundary.

Our energy use

An estimated relative breakdown of the University’s energy use associated with scope 1 & 2 emissions, is provided in the pie chart.

The University also produces display energy certificates for its buildings each year. You can view the past, and current, operational performance of Oxford Brookes buildings by putting the building's postcode into www.gov.uk/find-energy-certificate (e.g. Gipsy Lane is OX3 0BP). Please note that DECs are only produced for university buildings with over 250m2 of internal floor area.

Energy consumption at Brookes: Heating 39%, Hot water 27%, Lights 11%, Equipment (other than computers) 6%, Uncategorised energy use 7%, Auxiliary electricity us (e.g. pumps and fans) 4%, Staff and Pooled Computers 3%, IT Server Suite 2%, General space cooling (lecture theatres, pooled computer rooms, etc) 1%
Energy use breakdown overview

Renewable Energy

Oxford Brookes has been dramatically increasing the amount of renewable energy it generates in recent years. We now have 400kWp of state of the art photovoltaic panels installed which generates nearly 250,000 kWh of electricity onsite.

DescriptionUnits2014/152015/162016/172017/182018/192019/202020/21
Energy consumption onsite photovoltaickWh47,36541,25652,34894,724107,426113,287233,195


Want to see our photovoltaic panels? You can see them on our roofs using Google Earth.

photovoltaic panels

Scope 3 emissions

We already report on Scope 3 emissions relating to waste, water and waste water within HESA’s Estate Management Record. Further information on our supply chain emissions, as calculated on our behalf by the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium, is available upon request.

For catering, we have also completed baseline greenhouse gas assessments of our menus and have set new targets to reduce emissions by 20% by August 2022.  

Water

Get involved

Despite our best efforts to save energy, we can't do it alone. We need your help. 

You can help to significantly reduce wasted energy use and carbon emissions at Oxford Brookes, just follow these three tips:

  • turn off electronic equipment and lights when not in use and when you leave a room
  • turn your radiators down before you open a window
  • report problems and faults with buildings.

Please contact the Sustainability Team if you have ideas on how we can further save energy in our buildings at sustainability@brookes.ac.uk

Back to top