Oxford Brookes supports study to accelerate Oxford’s transition to Net Zero

Photo: Solar panels on the roof of Oxford Brookes’ Abercrombie building.
Photo: Solar panels on the roof of Oxford Brookes’ Abercrombie building.

Oxford Brookes University is working in partnership with Oxford City Council after the council was awarded £75,000 feasibility funding by the government to help accelerate Oxford’s transition to Net Zero.

Oxford has a goal to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions across the city as a whole by the year 2040 - ten years ahead of the legal deadline set by the government.

Oxford City Council is one of 30 councils that have been successful in applying to the Net Zero Living Programme fund from Innovate UK.

The successful £74,911 bid will explore the creation of a new 'one stop shop' for residents and businesses seeking retrofit services for their homes and premises, while also strengthening the local supply chain - through an innovative "FutureFit" concept.

The 'FutureFit' approach includes utilising smart technology and design, so that it is easier for businesses and residents to make changes to help reduce energy consumption and reduce the impacts of climate change.

The grant will fund a feasibility study into how Oxford can take the next steps to achieving Net Zero, by addressing specific challenges for commercial, industrial and domestic projects, looking at issues around power, heat, mobility, product manufacturing and usage.

With buildings accounting for approximately 60% of Oxford’s overall carbon footprint, a particular area of focus and challenge includes the retrofitting of Oxford’s diverse buildings.

The council will lead the study with its partners Oxford Brookes University and the Low Carbon Hub. University of Oxford, Lucy Group, Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford Direct Services, Centre for Net Zero, and Arup are other partners in the project.

After the study the council will decide whether to apply for phase two of the funding, which will grant up to £8 million to help deliver the solutions identified.

Oxford Brookes University has also set a target of 2040 to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions. Measures taken so far to make the University more sustainable include an innovative geo-exchange project, sustainable ways of charging electric vehicles, increased biodiversity on campuses, sustainable catering, major work to ensure buildings are energy efficient and encouraging sustainable and active travel. For more information on the University’s performance and initiatives, read the 2020-22 Sustainability Report.

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “I am delighted that Oxford City Council has been recognised and awarded for the competitive Net Zero Living Programme. We have been working to accelerate carbon emissions reduction as a council and city for a number of years, and the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership demonstrates the level of commitment across the city.”

Professor Rajat Gupta, Professor of Sustainable Architecture and Climate Change and Oxford Brookes University’s lead on the project, said: “We are pleased that our collaborative bid led by Oxford City Council has been successful.

“The ‘Futurefit One Stop Shop’ project builds on years of research on advanced energy retrofits and local area energy mapping. We are looking forward to addressing the challenge of retrofitting Oxford’s diverse buildings at scale to help reduce energy consumption and adapt to impacts of climate change.”

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Professor Rajat Gupta

Professor of Sustainable Architecture and Climate Change, Director of OISD and LCB Group

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