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Energy and carbon

Supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Kingston University's practices tie in with the United Nations SDGs, which aim to transform our world and promote prosperity for all while protecting our planet. The University's policy on energy efficiency supports:

Our targets

Kingston University recognises that human-induced climate change is one of the world's greatest threats. Our day-to-day operations as a University cause the release of carbon emissions and we have a duty to reduce these where possible. The University has committed to an ambitious target to reduce CO2 emissions by 35% from a 2005/6 baseline by 2020, and a reduction of 65% by 2030/31. The University is working hard to reduce its emissions associated with its operations through a variety of methods, from procurement of renewable energy, improving the control building systems and utilising low and zero-carbon technologies.

Our progress

To date the University has reduced its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 56%*. The equivalent of 6,628 tonnes of CO2e. That is this the equivalent to the emissions of 2,000 UK homes**. 

*56% as of June 2020 from a 2005/6 baseline. Includes benefit of Corporate Power Purchase Agreement.

**each homes emissions are broken down to 2.5tCO2 natural gas AND 1.25tCO2 electricity

The University is committed to continue its downward trend of CO2 emissions associated with its operations. The University holds a specific carbon management budget that aims to reduce the university emissions through a variety of methods.

PPA – Power Purchase Agreement

In October 2019 the University joined a pioneering renewable energy contract with 19 other universities. The contract supplies the university with 30% of our electricity demand with 100% renewable energy from UK wind farms. Offsetting the equivalent of 1,096 tCO2e per annum*** whilst achieving financial savings.

***based on DEFRA carbon emission factors from point of contract signing October 2019

Utilising low and zero-carbon technologies

Across the estate the university has implemented several low and zero-carbon technologies including:

A 300 m2 Solar Photovoltaic array on the Town house building that supplies 15% of the building' electricity use. This system is the University's largest to-date and is expected to generate approximately 50,000 kWh of renewable electricity every year. The Town House also includes a 120 kW ASHP system which extracts warmth from the air and acts like a refrigeration system in reverse with a high efficiency compressor generating heat. We are using Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) to heat and cool down buildings. The Kingston Hill Campus Business School has installed a 250 kW GSHP that extracts heat from the ground during winter and relative coolness from the ground in the summer. The process can be reversed depending on the temperature outside. We have installed solar thermal panels to heat water for domestic hot water systems. The University has solar energy systems at Knights Park & Tolworth Court campuses (both electricity and heat producing) with an additional system installed at the new halls of residence at 75 Penrhyn Road in 2017.

Improving building management system controls and equipment

Across our campus sites we are installing energy-efficient LED lights with presence detection and day light dimming wherever possible, as well as installing new efficient pumps and boilers throughout the estate. The recently-completed Eadweard Muybridge upgrade led to a reduction of 65% in electricity associated with lighting.

The University is improving the way in which our buildings operate by linking plant and equipment to occupancy levels to reduce energy wastage and improve user comfort.

Educating end users

We have funded an effective 'Student Switch Off' campaign in halls of residences.

Improving building fabric

Our most recent buildings already use modern insulation and glazing. We improve the fabric of our older buildings through refurbishment projects. For example

The new Town House building on track for BREEAM excellent. The New extension refurbishment is on track for BREEAM outstanding. The University's completed STEM labs achieved SKA rating GOLD.

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