Calculating Cost To Environment With East Midlands' Universities

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 Calculating Cost To Environment With East Midlands' Universities

Date posted: 23 March 2011

All nine East Midlands' universities have teamed up to help staff, students and the public be more aware of how much 'greenhouse gas' emissions they are responsible for.

Energy used to heat buildings and make consumer products creates carbon dioxide and other gases. These are called 'greenhouse gases' because most scientists believe they heat up the planet's atmosphere, causing climate change.

A carbon footprint calculator which can assess the level of carbon emissions an individual is responsible for has been launched simultaneously on the websites of all nine of the region's universities. Taking part are the universities of Derby, Nottingham, and Northampton; De Montfort, Leicester and Loughborough in Leicestershire; and Bishop Grosseteste University College and the University of Lincoln in Lincolnshire.

Aimed primarily at staff and students - but also free and available for anybody using the universities' websites - the calculator asks a series of simple questions to estimate how many tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions an individual is responsible for and gives tips on how this might be reduced.

Topics covered include:

  • food - including asking if you are a vegetarian or vegan, or buy organic food?
  • travel - what type of vehicle do you own, what is its engine size and how often do you use public transport?
  • home - what kind of property you live in, how you heat your home and whether it is fitted with energy saving measures such as loft insulation?
  • stuff - how much you spend on your pets; on buying electrical goods, jewellery and toiletries; and what you recycle?

This universities' sector led approach has been coordinated through a network of environmental and sustainability officers from each institution. They are keen to get staff and students to understand how much carbon dioxide their lifestyles create.

Lynn Richards, Environmental Manager at the University of Derby, said: "You can only manage what you can measure. Measuring your carbon footprint is the first step in learning how to reduce it."

Universities involved are running a series of events to raise awareness of carbon emissions and sustainability issues amongst staff and students. Thousands of people have already used the carbon footprint calculator to assess their environmental impact.

Measure your carbon footprint.

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